Fall exams can sometimes come as a shock to college students because we’re trying to hold onto syllabus week as long as we can, and sometimes, we procrastinate. Then, when the day of our fall exam approaches, we realize: oh sh*t, we actually have to study for these. Hopefully, you made it out of your fall exams alive (if not, my deepest sympathies).
Now, as Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford of Parks and Rec would say: treat yo’ self! Here are 10 great ways to treat yourself after surviving the stress of fall exams.
1. Indulge in your favorite junk food
You may have been too stressed with studying to munch on your favorite treats, but now, you have free reign to indulge. Whether you crave Flamin’ Hot Cheetos or a jumbo bag of gummy bears, there is no shame in a little comfort food to improve your mood. To treat yourself, indulge in your favorite junk food or treat after you finish your exams as a little pick-me-up. Don’t you dare worry about counting calories: you probably already burned them off stress-sweating before your fall exams.
2. Check out of your online shopping cart
If you’re like me, then you definitely have at least 20 items saved in 4 different online shopping carts (if anybody knows a shopaholic support group, LMK). To treat yourself after a hard week of studying, allow yourself to purchase that new pair of sneakers or fancy formal dress that you’ve had your eye on. While it’s not the most inexpensive way to treat yourself, it is the most effective way. Because I think we all can agree that retail therapy is the best kind of therapy.
3. Have a lazy night in
After weeks of feeling your mind race from the stress of fall exams, it can be nice to turn your brain off for a while. Have a lazy night in, either alone or with friends, and take some time to relax and forget all about the stress of your fall exams. Grab your favorite pair of sweatpants, turn on whatever show you’re bingeing at the moment, and allow yourself to be a couch potato for a few hours. And yes, Netflix, you are still watching.
4. Or, a wild night out
If you totally aced your first exam, then time to celebrate! Or, if you completely bombed your test, it’s time for something to ease the pain (I mean, what professor is cruel enough to put multiple-choice and short-answer on an exam?). There is no problem that alcohol can’t solve. Grab some friends, get dressed up, and hit your local bar or club to celebrate the fact that exams are over. No matter what your grades are, you get an A in dance moves.
5. Take a well-deserved nap
Michael Jordan took naps. Abraham Lincoln took naps. And you, of course, probably need a nap.
Sometimes after a long day of thinking, what your brain and body really need is a fat nap. Chances are you’ve definitely stayed up a little too late this past week trying to cram for your exam and do all the assigned readings that you missed (I mean, to review). It’s okay! Take some time to rejuvenate and recharge, and catch some zzz’s for as long as you need.
6. Work out for those endorphins
I know you may not think that hitting the gym is a treat, but hear me out! Working out can be one of the most beneficial things to do after you finish a stressful exam week.
Exercising releases endorphins, helps you sleep, and ultimately will calm your stress of fall exams. All of that pent-up energy that you’ve had during your study sessions can finally get released. Going on a run, lifting weights, or getting active will help you feel fresh and motivated to stay on track even after you finish your exams.
7. Pour yourself a glass of wine
There is no problem that alcohol can’t solve (see: #4). If you need to wine down (see what I did there?) or you’re feeling overwhelmed after a stressful exam day, then feel free to pop open some wine and pour yourself a glass (or two). Bonus points if you enjoy your wine while taking a bubble bath because that is serious treat yo’ self goals.
8. Commit to self-care
With the chaos of exam week, you’ve probably forgotten to take off your makeup, wash your face, and take care of yourself like you should (it’s okay, we’ve all been there). Plan out some time after your fall exams to pamper yourself! Take a bath, do your nails, wear a facemask, apply self-tanner, and treat yourself with a little extra self-care. Because when you look good, you feel good!
9. Take cooking off the table
I’m sure the last thing you want to do is put effort into cooking right now (or like, ever). I mean, who has the time to cook or get groceries when you’re spending all of your free time at the library? Well, if Chipotle is calling your name, then answer! Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant or fast food after a stressful exam, and don’t even feel an ounce of guilt for doing so.
10. Surround yourself with friends
Whatever stress you’re feeling about your fall exams, your friends are probably feeling it too. Get together with some friends and feel free to try any of the options listed above! Or, just hang out and be your crazy, goofy selves.
Only your friends will understand what you’re going through. You can complain about how unfair your bio test was, or laugh about the future of your GPA. Either way, surrounding yourself with your closest friends is a great way to relieve stress and boost your mood. After all, you’re all in this together.
With the stress of fall exams over, it’s time to relax! What are some other ways you treat yourself after exams?
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Hi! My name is Allison and I'm a senior at UW-Madison majoring in Strategic Communication and Political Science. When I'm not fueling my passion for writing with my coffee addiction, you can find me listening to live music or binge-watching Parks and Rec.