Student Advice for a Smooth Finals Week

Katie Gibson
December 13, 2019

Read advice from Berklee peer wellness educators on how to survive, even thrive, during finals week. 

Lyzz Zinn, a songwriting major, says that playing classical music helps her manage stress.
Image provided by Lyzz Zinn

Finals week is fast approaching, and with it, the pressure that end-of-semester projects and exams can build. The team of peer wellness educators in Berklee's Office of Student Wellness Promotion and Services has a few tips for making it through finals week with your sanity intact. Read on for their advice. 

Break Down Tasks into Manageable Steps

“I break tasks apart. For example, if I have to read 40 pages of a book, I read about 10 pages each day. This keeps my mind fresh to better understand the concepts and helps me avoid getting stressed, because I know it is a realistic and achievable goal.”
Diana Cortes Sanchez, music therapy major

Step Outside the Bubble

“I make it a priority to be as present as I can outside the ‘Berklee bubble.’ On stressful days, I’ll do my best to go to the gym, the park, or my favorite restaurant that isn’t near school. Often, the feelings of stress come alongside classes or things happeing on campus. Making a conscious effort to free myself of the physical space of campus can sometimes alleviate that stress (or at least help diminish it a bit!).”
Haley K. Clay, musical theater M.F.A. student

Channel that Nervous Energy Elsewhere

“When I feel stressed, I funnel that energy into a purposeful activity: going for a run or a walk, doing yoga, writing a list of what I need to get done, or calling a friend to do something productive with me. I feel better when I am around friends: even if we’re doing our own thing, it’s comforting knowing they are there. I find it easy to procrastinate when I'm feeling stressed, so I will try to do exactly the opposite by thinking about what my outcome would be if I were to be productive versus if I were to procrastinate.”
Jamie Smith, songwriting major

Just Breathe

“My favorite way to ease stress is to remind myself to breathe deeply while walking to and from classes. Those 10 minutes of fresh air and sunshine can turn any stressful day into a manageable adventure."
Amy Anderson, musical theater major

Look for the Joy

“My musical roots are in classical piano, though I'm not a piano principal at Berklee. I spend some time each week playing classical music to keep my joy and passion for music alive. I also keep certain times of day free for spending time with friends and/or doing something that brings me joy. This helps especially when I feel overwhelmed by the stress in my life (be it emotional, physical, financial, or academic), as I am reminded there are moments of reprieve and joy to be found anywhere.”
Lyzz Zinn, songwriting major

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