How to Survive the End of the Semester

Author: Rachel Stewart, C’16

It’s that time of year again: Christmas songs are on a never-ending loop in CVS, I’m bombarded with hourly emails from Crate and Barrel and Lord & Taylor about holiday sales, and… finals are rapidly approaching.

The end of the semester is always a rush, but I think it’s important to take some time and appreciate what we’ve already accomplished so far. Here are some relaxation/indulgence techniques that my friends and I have picked up:

1) Baking. Nothing is better than a freshly baked batch of cookies, or the smell of gingersnaps filling your apartment. Although I can never make them quite as good as my mom does, they’re a comforting treat on a long night of studying.

2) Secret Santa! I love Secret Santa because it makes me feel like a ten-year old again. Presents! Secrets! A guessing game! And at the great “unveiling” party, even more food and time with friends.

3) Calling my mom. It’s nice to hear how everything at home is going, if my mom’s found a gift for my dad yet, and what she’s up to this weekend. After intense hours of studying locked in Van Pelt, talking with my mom is a reminder that life exists outside of the Penn bubble.

4) Speaking of the Penn bubble… Go off campus. Mid-afternoon walks to Rittenhouse Square are relaxing and good exercise. On Saturday mornings, I love grabbing a cup of coffee and window shopping, and not letting exams or papers or projects crowd my thoughts. It’s also a nice opportunity to interact with people who haven’t been studying fourteen hours a day for the past three days.

5) Watching Netflix. Yes, TV bingeing has been recently condemned in popular media, but I think it’s a great reward at the end of a study session. Letting your mind wonder through an episode of Mad Men is probably my favorite form of late night relaxation (with a cookie in hand, of course).

So, from Quakers who are in the midst of their first finals experience, to those who are seasoned veterans… Good luck! And have a good break.



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Filed under Campus Life, Rachel S., Student Perspective

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