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Surviving Hell Week 101

There’s always this point in the semester where all your deadlines and exam dates are clumped together in the same week. This particular week, my friends, is finals week (aka hell week), and it is an unavoidable, integral part of college life.

Here are a few tips to make Hell Week easier:

Surviving Hell Week 101

Time management is key

You’re more or less convinced that all your lecturers ganged up on you and conspired to make their students suffer as much as possible. That means back to back deadlines and then a nice sprinkling of final exams as the cherry on top.

It’s really easy to get lost in the muddle of dates and assignments, so always have a planner with you to mark down submission dates, and to plan out your study sessions. If there’s a really big project that’s going to make up more than 60% of your grade, space it out over the course of a few weeks, and tackle it a little bit by bit every day.

I find that this is really the most effective way to organize your time and get things done without getting overwhelmed. Plus, you get to experience that little tinge of satisfaction when you’re already halfway done with your assignment, and your course mates fret about haven’t even starting. Heh. Heh heh.

(But no one likes a bragger la, okay, so bask in the smugness internally)


Coffee is your best friend, but it’s not food.

A lot of us become prone to skipping meals and sleep and surviving just on caffeine. And if not, then it is very tempting to do so.

Sometimes you wish that there’s a way to pump coffee into your body intravenously, but it’s not going to happen, okay? (Btw, if anyone wants to take up that challenge, be my guest)

Yeah sure, maybe at 2am the morning before the deadline, when you’re rushing to get things done, and your eyelids are being taped open, it might be helpful. And yeah, I’m not gonna deny that it is effective. But coffee isn’t going to replace an actual meal. You know, like food? Do you even remember what food is?

So please, don’t neglect your own health, because you can’t crush that grade if you go into shock due to all that zing. Youch!

Sometimes, it’s good to let it out

I have this theory about crying: it’s like a fart. Sometimes you just can’t hold it in, and it’s always better to just let ‘er rip! In the wise words of the God that is Alex Pettyfer, “Better an empty house than an angry tenant.”

In the final semester of my foundation course, we had this saying, “If you haven’t broken down at least once during hell week, you’re not trying hard enough.” Yeah, it seems pretty hardcore, but my classmates and I can’t deny the fact that crying (even in front of our lecturers, lol) helped alleviate the stress. When things get a little overwhelming, it’s okay to have an occasional breakdown (or two. Or three.)

Find yourself a quiet room or toilet or whatever, and let it out.

Go on, it’s okay, I’ll be waiting with tissues.

Sleep becomes a luxury, but you should still invest in it.

Yeah yeah yeah, we’ve all heard that saying. Remember that college triangle thing?

Heh, yeah, that one.

Based on my own experience, it is kind of true, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be either or. Obviously, you can’t give up sleeping for the entirety of your college education, because that would suck and may even potentially kill you.

I’ve always chosen a good night’s sleep over pulling an all-nighter, because I would rather have myself be awake and alert during an exam or presentation, and be lucid enough to at least bullshit my way through. Just my two cents. Having a fresh mind is always a good thing, so please, I know you can’t afford it, but try to hit a minimum of 4-5 hours at the very least. Your sleep cycle will readjust during sem break.

In the mean time, I hoping that you’re doing well and hanging on to the best of your ability. Good luck! 😀

Written by: Peh Xin Ying


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