Rounding the Corner (a guide to “hell week”)

Another semester has practically come and gone and rounding the home stretch towards winter break only increases as a challenge. As a student we all know that there is nothing more challenging than sprinting down this final stretch. But there are definitely ways for students to keep ahead of the game, and not get bamboozled by what is known as Hell Week.

Hell Week begins either around the time of Thanksgiving break and expands through the completion of first semester finals; or the last week of April and the first few weeks of May. The most challenging year for me was freshmen year. As a freshman, I was ill prepared for what awaited my first encounter with the demon that is Hell Week. As time progressed the encounters became friendlier. A new trick has been learned for each semester completed. Some techniques I do wish I had ascertained sooner, but better late than never right?

I have compiled these theories and organized them into several groups, which with my experience, seem best suited.

I would first find a quiet relaxing place. My ideal location would be sitting on a comfortable pad located in the center of a Zen garden. A water feature would be ideal with soothing music drifting from speakers located in every direction. To quote the Rolling Stone, “we can’t always get what we want.” I unfortunately have to settle for the designated study rooms in the basement of the library with Pandora’s best selections.  

This is where you orchestrate an “action plan.” Your action plan should entail a level of specificity that only you would understand. A thorough, well thought out schedule, is the best way to accomplish your overall goal, to survive Hell Week. Your schedule should set specific goals that only pertain to you. Your day to day activities should only be centered on you. Taking away unneeded distractions is the priority. Afraid friends might get upset and think there is something wrong? Don’t fret. The best way to avoid this is to simply communicate with those around you. Explain to them that you are getting your life in control to finish the semester strong. The silent goal here is to plant the seed of aspiration and revitalization within you or your friend group.  This may feel a little egotistical at first, but let’s face it. We live in a “me me” society where we only truly care about ourselves.

But let’s not get ourselves overwhelmed and hyperventilating into a paper bag. It is ok to take breaks. I would not recommend studying in your actual dorm room. The temptation to rest the eyes for a minute or two will turn into suddenly waking up and realizing it’s already tomorrow. If living on campus, study in a lounge on your floor. Take walks down the hallways or invest in an electric kettle and become a tea connoisseur.

I also find success in rejuvenating the neurotransmitters by visiting local coffee cafes with live local talent. They say some of the best ideas come from coffee houses around the world.   

After completely this somewhat tedious task, a new feeling of self-accomplishment will overwhelm you. The achievement of successfully conquering Hell Week is grand.


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