In the Name of Allah, the extremely Merciful at this very moment, and the extremely Merciful at all times
Allah (swt) says:
For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. (Qur’an 95:5)
Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. (Qur’an 95:6)
So you have 3 finals on the same day.
Relax. Breathe. It’s not the end of the world.
You are an intelligent and dedicated person, don’t forget that. You would have never made it this far if you weren’t. You will get the job done and you will do it the best you can. There are others who have to take 8 hour exams or have more difficult stressors in their family life during this time. Be positive. Your success is right around the corner.
…Yeah right, who thinks that? I know I’m going to be stressed all throughout finals and eventually going to have to pull all-nighters since I was messing around for the whole semester!
If that last paragraph was you, it’s time to change perspective.
The fact is that the more negative thoughts we allow into our minds, the more anxiety and stress build up.
You want to pull an all-nighter? Let me walk you through the night:
12am: 8 hours to study, let’s get down to business….after the first 3 PowerPoint slides: “This is way too hard. Why did I leave this to the last moment!? OMG I’M GONNA FAIL!!!!”
So what starts as 8 hours left to study becomes 5 hours …because the first 3 hours go by stressing about hard the material is, how terrible the slides are, how terrible the teacher is, how I’m going to fail tomorrow, how I’m not smart, what my parents are going to say, etc.
3am: Too much stuff going on in my head, better log onto Facebook for a quick break. Oh hey my friends have some funny statuses and they are thinking the same thing as me! The next hour goes by chatting on Facebook complaining about how tough finals are going to be.
4am: Now I have 4 hours…but I’m hungry so I need to eat. But I can’t eat without watching something at the same time, so I start watching my favorite TV show on YouTube. And I won’t feel as guilty since I’m watching House and that’s an “educational” show.
6am: Now I have 2 hours left to study, and at this point I’m really sleepy so I’m reaching for the Red Bull. I finally put a few “high quality” hours of studying because I’m desperate.
8am: I’m running to class in my pajamas because I was up all night “studying.” I’m “dead tired” because of this all-nighter, and to make things worse, that Red Bull effect is fading away so I’m pretty sleepy when I read the first question, which happens to be a page long. To top it all off, I forgot my morning coffee.
Noon: I’m sad that I did badly, so I mope around for the rest of the day.
These disasters and stressful days start because we let ourselves think negative instead of being positive. It leads to complaining instead of resolve, which leads to self doubt instead of confidence. This leads to unhealthy habits and choices for studying culminating to a not-so-stellar performance on that important exam.
Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t let stress make your finals week miserable. Don’t pull an all-nighter because that’s the prevailing culture. Don’t settle for less because of self doubt. Don’t be the guy walking into his finals with pajamas.
The first secret I learned to being stress free during finals week is being positive. Being positive is integral to minimizing stress in a stress-ridden world and a critical first step. Being positive entails that you imagine your success before it happens, ignore negative thoughts, and quit the complaining. The sooner we stop complaining and being negative, the sooner we can develop a plan of attack to actually rock our finals. When we do that, we finish studying in a fraction of the time and retain more of what we study, and even have a few hours to spare to enjoy ourselves.
If you are able to do that, then congratulations, you are about to experience the power of positivity.
And don’t feel too sorry for your finals after the inevitable beat down.