Oberlin Blogs

Finals Survival Guide 2013

December 13, 2013

Margaret Saunders ’16

Since you're probably reading this post in lieu of working I won't give a long preamble. Finals time is tough on all of us, and I find that the best way to get through it is to give yourself a significant study break--an hour long, at least!--to rest your brain, eyes, and massage out the hand cramps during this reading period. Here's what has worked for me this year:

See a movie

The walk to the Apollo may be long and cold, but what better way to take your mind off of finals than immersing yourself in a movie for a few hours? Right now the Apollo is playing Disney's Frozen and the second of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trio, two perfect flicks to distract you with some good ol' magic and adventure! Or lengthy discussions with your friends about how they adapted the Snow Queen fairytale and the J.R.R. Tolkien novel if you need to blow off steam.

Ditch the dining halls

I am a firm believer in the concept of "Treat Yo Self" and I encourage everyone to take up this mantra as well. After hours agonizing over that research paper, why fill up on yet another meal of pizza, fries, and pasta du jour? Late-night Tôoo and Agave do wonders to relieve your taste buds past 10:00 pm on the weekend, and Aladdin's now accepts Obie dollars! They're also much more palatable than yet another batch of ramen or Easy Mac; you'll be living off those in Winter Term, anyway.

The kittens at Gingko Gallery

You've probably known about the Gingko Gallery kittens from the moment you stepped on this campus and paid them a visit during Orientation as per tradition, but now is when you need them the most. Stop by Gingko Gallery and cuddle or play with the four furballs before they're gone! (Gone to new happy homes, that is, don't worry.)

Take a walk

Now that downtown Oberlin is all dressed up for the holidays, taking a walk past the shops has never been prettier. Admire the displays in the jewelry shop and Gibson's windows and appreciate all the lights on the trees! Too cold? Convince some friends to go with you and form a huddle formation as you walk; if it works for penguins in the Antarctic ice fields, it can work in Ohio.

Concerts, concerts, concerts!

Today is Friday the 13th and I've just made plans to go to three separate concerts tonight. A Messiah singalong starts at Finney Chapel at 7 pm, the ballet is putting on The Nightmare Before Christmas at 8 pm, and the Obertones acapella group will be at Finney again at 10 pm, and this is only one night out of reading period, no less! Check out the events calendar (or check out any corkboard on campus) and you'll find plenty of stuff to do this weekend to give yourself a break. Bonus: most of these events are free!


It's tried and true. Grab some friends and have the Disney marathon you've been planning all year but were too busy to actually plan (or rescheduled because during midterms you were in more of a Lord of the Rings mood). There are also plenty of other movies to calm you down: that documentary about fluffy animals, for example. They've also added plenty of classic holiday movies, for those of us who've missed ABC's 25 Days of Christmas specials.

Make a phone call

Your high school friend you haven't heard from in a few weeks? Call them. Your grandparents who sent you a care package? Call them. Your siblings going through their own finals week? Do your family duty and bother them when they should be working by giving them a call. Talking to someone you love about things that have nothing to do with tests or papers will make the both of you happy that you called--or at the very least, give you someone to commiserate with. Skype counts too!

Listen to Beyoncé

I'm sure The Queen had other reasons for choosing to drop her surprise album this weekend, but I like to think that in her heart of hearts, she meant for it to help us through the end of the semester. So thank you, Beyoncé. Thank you.

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