“Let inspirational quotes be your guide to success.” — Sofia Rivera
By Sofia Rivera, Simmons College
Your brain is buzzing with one too many espresso shots, your heart is racing, your hand is cramped—possibly permanently—and last night you found a gray hair. Even though you could swear syllabus week literally just ended, the waking nightmare that is finals is once again upon us.
We all know what we have to do. Study consistently. Get plenty of sleep. Stay hydrated and don’t binge on caffeine. But this advice is only helpful for those of us who haven’t procrastinated, and if you exist then why are you reading a #FinalsHacks article?
Studying for finals the week (or night) before they take place is like reaching the end of another calendar year and realizing you still haven’t lost ten pounds. You told yourself you’d eat better and join a gym, but now it’s New Year’s Eve and all you can do is pull on some Spanx and tell yourself you’ll do better next year.
Well, this article is your finals Spanx.
But don’t take it from me, take it from a variety of wise adages about success, many of which you might recognize from those bubble-lettered posters that decorated your high school classrooms— and you graduated high school didn’t you? Point proven.
“Genius is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration.” – Thomas Edison
He gave us the light bulb, so the least we can do is heed his advice. And where can you achieve maximum perspiration? A sauna.
So head down to your local spa and treat yourself to a day of relaxation and perspiration. You’ll sweat out all the bad toxins that have been weighing you down, making room for all the genius to enter.
Eventually you’ll begin to hallucinate from dehydration and Edison’s ghost will appear to you. An illuminated light bulb will hover above his head, he’ll give you a big thumbs up and that’s how you’ll know you’re ready for the test.
“The best revenge is massive success.” – Frank Sinatra
First you’ll have to create an arch-nemesis so you can have someone to inflict your revenge of incredible success on. This could be your roommate who never cleans the shower or the Starbucks employee who at this point is purposely misspelling your name.
You might even need to flunk this exam so that you can have a vendetta against the professor that flunked you.
Needless to say, at this point you need to forget about studying; finding your enemy is an important personal journey, so take your time. Once you’ve selected the odious antagonist, disregard finals—you have a revenge scheme to cook up and passing that exam is hardly the “massive success” that will put your enemy in his place. If you’re looking for some light reading, try The Count of Monte Cristo to help find that 1 percent inspiration.
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
You know what will take you both from point A to B and everywhere? A private jet. Empty your bank account out, or if it’s already empty then take out another student loan. Now buy a private jet and prepare yourself for a grade-saving adventure.
First stop: West Point, New York. Walk the campus of the United States Military Academy until you find a statue of Abe Lincoln that cadets have long used as a good luck charm before exams. Simply rub Honest Abe’s noggin and you’ll join the ranks of some of America’s finest academics and athletes. Although the university was established at the beginning of the 19th century, the statue’s head shines as brightly as a newly minted penny.
Speaking of pennies, you’ll need one for your next destination: Rome. Rent a moped to wind around the pizza-scented streets until you arrive at the Trevi Fountain. No need to wish for love or fame because that automatically happens to anyone who visits Rome, à la Lizzie McGuire, so as you close your eyes and toss your coin think only of acing those exams. Then buy yourself a pizza because “When in Rome.” Also, you’ll need plane snacks for the flight to Salamanca, Spain.
In this historic town lies one of the world’s oldest universities and the single oldest in Spain, founded in 1218. People have been learning here long before you or your great-grandparents were even conceived, so just by being here you’ll absorb centuries worth of wisdom.
For an extra dose of luck, make your way to La Puerta de Salamanca, the university’s main, intricately carved facade. If you locate a small stone frog atop a skull among the wall’s countless carvings, it’s said that you’ll do well on your exams.
Country-hopping the week before finals may seem unwise, and you may be asking yourself, “Should I really take advice from Einstein? How smart was he, really?” OH WAIT. So just go buy the jet and one day your name will be synonymous with genius.
“The No. 1 reason people fail in life is because they listen to their friends, family and neighbors.” – Napoleon Hill
What are you friends saying? “Wake up, Sofia, you need to study.”
What is your family saying? “If you don’t pass these exams, we’re not paying for your tuition next semester.”
Your neighbors? “What are you doing in my house? Get off my couch and stop eating my food!”
White noise, all of it. Unless you’re a fan of failure, tune it all out. Take Roxette’s advice and “Listen to your heart.” (“There’s nothing else you can do.”)
It’s probably saying, “I’m so tired, can we just go to sleep?” The answer is yes— you’ve studied hard, or at least thought about studying while you finished re-watching season four of The Office for the third time.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
If you won’t listen to your heart, listen to the personification of all that is good and magic (and commercialized): Walt Disney.
You can’t pass these finals unless you get a good, dream-filled night’s sleep, so step away from the Keurig and climb into bed.
To doubly ensure straight A’s, tape yourself reading all your notes aloud and listen to the recordings on repeat all night long. The knowledge will subliminally sink into your unconscious mind and you’ll wake up not only extremely well rested, but also completely prepared.
If you neglected to attend class or take notes all semester, skip this step— just go to sleep and dream of showing up to class the next day. You sit down, ready to kick some exam butt when the professor says, “Finals are cancelled! No class either, take the day off!” All of a sudden your professor is Oprah. “And you’re all going home with a private jet!”
You look under your seat and find that she’s telling the truth. Oprah put a jet under your seat!
“Studying has been scientifically proven to lower test scores. The best thing a student can do is not study at all.” – Anonymous
Anonymous is definitely good at computer hacking, but they also write a lot of my favorite inspiring quotes.