College Finals: Advice From One Whose Lives Depends on Grades

Damir Temir
3 min readDec 8, 2020
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I would like to tell you how I manage my time in the most hated and frustrating time of the college semester, finals.

I’m an international student in college, and my scholarship requires me to have a 3.85 GPA every semester. In other words, I can’t have a single B in any of my classes because otherwise, I’m out of college and the U.S in general. So here are a few things that help me succeed during finals week:

1. Watch your favorite show.

Netflix, Peacock, Hulu, YouTube, you name it. There are so many streaming services that provide us with comforting shows in times of a great deal of stress. My comforting show is The Office, but there are other shows too; I just like their humor. Watching relaxing shows will help you distract and feel at ease during finals (please don’t use it to procrastinate, though).

2. Sleep.

If you’ve been in college for a few months now, you probably know that sleep is gold. My worst days happened when I was deprived of sleep, and I was smart enough to see that I need more rest. The internet says that you need at least 6–8 hours of sleep, but I say that you need all 10 hours of sleep because you work hard in college (I really hope you do). This advice also leads to the next one.

3. Wake up.

Guess what? Your Mom and Dad were right. Waking up early in the morning helps you be more productive, which means you can better prepare for your exams and assignments. Waking up at 6 am each morning has been the best of my habits so far. I have read so many Computer Science books since I started putting an hour each morning in the summer.

I advise you to gradually adjust the usual time you wake up. If you wake up at around 10 am, try doing 9:30 am the next morning, and keep going until you reach the desired time. Just take my word for it and see for yourself.

4. Eat whatever you want.

Yeah, I am not one of those who tell you to eat broccoli and put avocado in everything. If you enjoy it, go for it, but if you don’t, eat what you like. Finals are usually a week-long period, which means that it won’t ruin your health to eat corn dogs and drink coke for those seven days. It makes me genuinely happy to eat junk food during finals because it actually causes a dopamine release in the brain. I would say embrace a reasonable diet during finals.

5. Deal with it.

Sometimes there are things that are out of your control. If you cannot succeed at a particular class, don’t rush into hating yourself. People are usually so narrow-minded they can’t see that there are numerous opportunities around them. I was happy to discover for myself that if I drop out of college because I won’t succeed at finals, I will go do other things. There are so many great professional certificate programs that you can ace instead of going to college to study sociology when you want to do computer science.

Remember, finals do not define you as a human. But if you choose to take finals, you need to make sure that you are ready.



Damir Temir

Data Science Aspirant w/ interest for writing. Student at the University of Illinois. Born and raised in Kazakhstan.