Thirteen weeks and 20 units later, I think I’m drowning. Yikes. As the semester comes to a close, books start falling to the ground, minds start dwindling, and students now look like flimsy inflatable balloons that quickly deflate outside of car dealerships. Welcome to finals week. 

Entering the world's number one public university, I quickly had to learn: work smarter, not harder. Studying insane hours and grinding until you see the sunrise is not sustainable. As a UC Berkeley student, surviving this environment alone endows me the authority to comment on the darker side of academic success. In Silicon Valley, where everything is always moving and breaks are defunct, self-care is often forgotten.

However, we are all human. Feelings and fatigue engulf every aspect of our beings. So, I thank the girl who turned to me in the library as I shed more than a few tears and frankly stated, “Yeah, I have allergies too."

We've all been given the inadequate pick me ups and the cringeworthy “you’ll do great's," but I’m not here to coddle you. I can only do you the courtesy of giving it to you straight. Finals are a battle during which we must stay safe, and here’s how we must fight on.

Drink Water

The process of drinking water is tedious. It seems simple enough—just pick up a glass every few minutes and sip. Right, like that will happen. I have learned to get around the unconscious neglect of my water with a few quick methods. Invest in a good water bottle. Plastic water bottles are bad for the environment and bad for your budget. Don’t look at them; don’t even think about them. At 32 ounces, I only have to refill my favorite Hydroflask two or three times a day to ward off any droopy eyes or headaches.

#SpoonTip: Take half your body weight and drink that amount of water in ounces each day. Do not simply follow the 8x8 rule.

Don’t Over-Caffeinate

Caffeine pills and chugging endless cans of Yerba Mate might seem like a quick fix, and Adderall could seem enticing after a few sleepless nights. Avoid at all costs. The crash is not worth the high, and more often than not the influx of caffeine into your bloodstream will not directly translate into a more productive work environment. Here's a recipe for a chai recipe that won't give you the jitters. Study harder, not longer!

An Apple A Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

platter, feast, spread, tea
Charlie Foster

My diminished immune system says otherwise. Eat more than just an apple, preferably. There is a multitude of options, so choose the eating schedule that fits your diet. Three meals a day, with snacks. Six mini portions with minimal snacking. Intermittent fasting. Skipping meals will only perpetuate the inevitable cycle of anxiety and distress while cramming for finals. Think about it like this—a meal is a study break. Either alone or with friends, a timed break won’t impact your schedule as much as you might think. Stash many a fruit in those deep student sweatshirt pockets of yours.


Emergen-C should become your secret weapon. Remember that reusable water bottle I mentioned earlier? Drop an Emergen-C packet or pill into your water and chug. Daily vitamins should also be added to your daily regimen—even outside of exam season. 

Catch Some Zzz’s 

You shouldn't need convincing, but be kind to your body—get seven to eight hours of sleep. Without that block of sleep, your body is going to hurt. There needs to be some brain restoration over the course of the night. We don’t want to see any brain-drain during finals season. Think R.E.M sleep for maximum efficiency.


I wish you all the best in your academic endeavors, but remember life is much larger than your ten-pound chemistry textbook. Your rhetoric paper can wait. The sun will continue to rise and set, but remember to take a moment to enjoy the world. Call your mother. Go on YouTube. Preparing for the "real world" is impossible because you’re constantly going to be figuring it out. Good luck and Go Bears.

#SpoonTip: Use this article as a study procrastination. Read it once and then read it again. If you're feeling overwhelmed reach out and find support, there are many outlets designed to help a student in need. Now study!