Dead Week Survival Guide: 10 steps to safety and sanity
Every semester, a menacing hoard of growling and ominous assignments, papers and tests smell the livelihood of students and come in waves to chow down on what is left of their brains after the grueling semester.
Chris Lusk, The Oklahoma Daily
“That said, knowledge is the only part of the fight for survival,” reads the introduction to Max Brooks’ book “The Zombie Survival Guide.”
Brooks writes, “ask yourself one question: what will you do — end your existence in passive acceptance, or stand up and shout, ‘I will not be their victim! I will survive!’ The choice is yours.”
This ideology can be applied to the (un)dead week that kicks off today. Rather than find yourself victim to the hordes of ‘to-dos’ piling up, follow this dead week survival guide and avoid becoming one of the living dead as you head into finals week.
STEP 1: ORGANIZE BEFORE IT ARRIVES
The best way to make sure you are safe from the dreaded dead week is to be prepared. Lists and calendars are essential tools to taking on the papers and finals that are looming throughout the week.
If things are due on the same day, working ahead on one project will free up time so you do not get eaten up by the stress of deadlines.
STEP 2: FINALS FEEL NO FEAR, WHY SHOULD YOU?
Do not be afraid of the week following dead week. The more stress that is put on the body, the less likely it is to retain and process information.
Being prepared will give you the strength to battle the last two weeks of the semester. You’re going to need the energy next week, so don’t waste any being afraid of the angry hoard of assignments staring you down. You’ve made it this far into the semester, why should this particularly strenous week be any different? Right?
STEP 3: USE YOUR HEAD, NOT THEIRS
As you finish your final essays and papers, make sure to cite everything you quote or paraphrase to avoid an integrity violation. Even if the last hour before the deadline is staring you in the face, make sure you go back and add all citations in order to keep an F or suspension from gnawing away at your GPA.
STEP 4: CUPS OF UNLIMITED COFFEE DON'T CHARGE FOR REFILLING
This is one of the key components to any caffeine drinkers’ arsenal during dead week. If the refills aren’t free, then the efficiency of studying somewhere with the intention of drinking a lot of coffee decreases.
Panera Bread, IHOP, Waffle House and Cafe Plaid all have waitresses to reload or stations where you can take as much as you need. Or make your own at home with friends in order to cut costs.
STEP 5: IDEAL PROTECTION = SLEEP AND FOOD
If your body is full of adrenaline and caffeine, it’s important to balance those with sleep and food.
The best way to do this is make sure you’re taking the time to get proper nutrition and enough sleep to tackle the last assignments and papers. No matter how much you have to do, breaking for these things are necessary to keep your energy up.
Make sure to drink coffee along with something more than just baked goods. These things will keep you ready for any unexpected assignment that might be clawing at your door in the morning.
STEP 6: GO TO SLEEP EARLY, DON’T DESTROY SLEEP SCHEDULE
Make sure to get a good eight consecutive hours of sleep. It is easy to get caught up in a project and stay up until 3 or 4 a.m. and then have to wake up early in order to turn something else in.
Be sure to plan ahead to make sure you don’t get stuck averaging four hours of sleep a night during dead week. Your body will struggle to make it through finals week, so little sleep the week before.
STEP 7: GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND SEE PEOPLE
They say strength is in numbers. Staying solo is not the best way to keep your sanity during dead week.
Forming a study group with friends — who will actually study — can be beneficial. Fighting multiple projects this week can be overwhelming. So, travel in pairs through the woods of readings, papers and flashcards in order to achieve optimum safety against going nuts.
STEP 8: KEEP GOING, KEEP FOCUSED, KEEP ORGANIZED AND KEEP CALM
Don’t lose all hope when you check your calendar today and see a gratuitous amount of snarling, brain-hungry assignments glaring at you during the next two weeks.
Just keep moving.
Stopping is dangerous, but if you keep moving, you will help kill off each assignment
by taking out at least one a day.
STEP 9: NO PLACE IS SAFE FROM DEAD WEEK, ONLY SAFER
There is nowhere that is completely safe from dead week for students — no matter how hard everyone tries to block it out.
Deadlines will come at you fast, and finals will happen next week, but the easiest way to protect yourself from the dead-week madness is to be prepared for the worst and hope for the best.
STEP 10: DEAD WEEK MAY BE GONE, BUT THE THREAT OF NEXT SEMESTER LIVES ON
After finals are over and students are fleeing the dorms to safe havens for the summer, the threat of next semester is still present.
There will be newer, stronger assignments hobbling toward all of us who haven’t been given the cure of graduation yet.
What will you do in the next few weeks? Will you lie down and let the hoard of papers and tests ravenously devour your brain and your GPA? Or will you get your arsenal ready and take out each assignment with a clean headshot?
The choice is yours.
Westlee Parsons is a English literature senior.