Finals season is upon college students like the Plague was on Europe in 1348. Not good. If you’re finding yourself stressed out, twitchy, and about to start crying in the computer lab, don’t. Instead, follow these three tips to make finals a little less “gut-wrenchingly awful” and a little more “unpleasant, but liveable.”

Stock your pantry: Not only will having fresh groceries give you an excuse to get out of the house for a little while, but it will make sure that you don’t get sick during finals (which is the worst). Make sure that you have foods that require a minimum of preparation while still being better for you than Twix bars from the downstairs vending machine at 3 in the morning. I just went grocery shopping today, and my finals menu includes a lot of bagels with hummus (for breakfast), pre-made, pre-sauced pasta that I just need to toss in a pan for 10 minutes (like these), and a lot of canned vegetables—current favorites include asparagus and green beans. It’s not the most dietarily adventurous I’ve ever been, but it’s certainly enough to keep me fed for at least a week without resorting to freebie pizza for three days in a row.

Write everything (I mean everything) down: I know you probably already keep an agenda of your schoolwork during the year (right?), but during finals you need to write everything down in a single place. Because your normal routine has been interrupted, it’s easy to forget what you need to be doing each day, whether it’s mailing off some last-minute forms or writing another 1,000 words on your term paper. This is not the time to let things slip through your fingers.

Take breaks: Studying from lunch straight until 3 in the morning is not generally a sign of class difficulty. Instead, it’s a sign of poor planning. All that 8-hour marathons will do is burn you out to the point that you no longer remember what you were supposed to know in the first place. Instead, schedule your work into discrete chunks and make sure to take time to eat regularly, sleep, and talk to friends (particularly if your friends aren’t in the middle of finals madness) about your day. These breaks will keep you sane and help you retain information.

[Image courtesy of Flickr user quinn.anya. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.]