Fran and Viv’s Finds and Views: Finals Survival Guide

Staff writers Francesca Pezza and Vivi Hirschfield provide their best tips on how to survive finals week.


Vivi Hirschfield and Francesca Pezza

Returning from a much-needed Thanksgiving break and settling into the month of December is a feeling that’s hard to dislike. There’s no better feeling than the holiday cheer setting in after the togetherness of Thanksgiving– until you realize that the dreaded final exams are right in the middle. 

Finals. Even typing that word makes those familiar knots form in our stomachs. While it may be difficult to avoid the rising anxiety and calm the chaotic atmosphere, being prepared and proactive helps you alleviate the stress and go into your exams with confidence.

Here are Fran and Viv’s Finds and Views for how to survive finals week.


Viv’s pick: Tala Coffee Roasters

I’m writing this in Tala Coffee roasters right now, ironically enough, and the environment is perfect for working. I’m someone who needs solid background noise to stay on task, so Tala’s festive winter decor and music combined with their delicious coffee makes studying almost fun. Being surrounded by others working makes me more inclined to work, and I leave feeling accomplished.

Fran’s pick: Lake Forest Library

Although there’s no beating Tala Coffee and the Dirty Hippie Latte, sometimes the noisier nature of a coffee shop can overwhelm me while I’m trying to study. The Library is perfect if you work better in a quieter atmosphere, especially during finals week! Usually from the weekend before to the end of finals, the library has snack tables set out for students as they study in the teen room… or the little kids section, because who doesn’t love sitting at those mini tables, pretending you’re in elementary school and finals don’t exist?

However, this year, they’ve transformed that tradition into what they call “Exam Escape: Grab ‘n’ Go De-stress kits,” mini finals survival packages that you’re able to use in the comfort of your own home. These will be available for pick-up from Dec 10 to Dec 15 in the Children’s Department during any open hours. 


Viv’s Pick: A master Spotify playlist

I treat Spotify like a social media in the sense that I’m always thinking up new playlists for the soundtrack to my life. Finals week is no exception, and having a killer study playlist is a must for success. I asked other students for their favorite study songs and combined them with my own to make this master playlist.

Fran’s Pick: A good study album

My favorite album to listen to while studying has always been Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. 10 tracks in 43 minutes, it’s the perfect increment to spend grinding. I fell in love with the rich mixture of unique and immersive sounds in each track– the tracks that opened new doors for music of all genres. The simple yet complex depth of the album helps me stay calm and focused while working, while also, of course, tempting me to do a few air guitar solos alone in my room. Whether you crave a down to earth and zoned in vibe, or just want to get lost in the music, I highly recommend jamming out to this album. 


Viv’s pick: Tony Moly sheet masks

When you’re in the study groove, it’s tough to stop and think about self care. Sheet masks are quick to put on, and while you wait the 20-30 minutes to take them off you can get extra studying in. Tony Moly is one of my favorite brands because of the many different types that smell so good and keep my skin feeling nourished.

Fran’s pick: deep sleep pillow spray

Trust me, I’ve tried all the sleep hacks. I wasn’t expecting this one to work, either. But I just had to try the deep sleep pillow spray– and let me tell you– it proved me wrong! I started lightly misting my pillow with the lavender, camomile, and vetivert scented spray every night my junior year, and I have noticed a genuine improvement in my ability to fall asleep swiftly and quickly. During finals, sleep is more than a priority in order to perform at your max, so I recommend investing in this ethereal sleep spray! 

Fran’s pick: HydroMATE 32oz water bottle

If you’re like me and forget to drink water when you get busy, then this water bottle will work magic for you. I got it as a birthday gift, aka a little nudge from my mom implying that I really need to start drinking more water. Imprinted on the glass are hourly increments from eight am to six pm, with motivational phrases such as “let’s go!” and “getting close!” to remind you to keep sipping. Since I’ve started using this bottle, I’ve been fully hydrated and feeling good. 


Viv’s pick: itemized lists

Lists are a great tool to lay your work out, but having a list like “math packet, science packet, english packet” has never helped me. Instead, I write “math packet page 1, math packet page 2,” and so on. Crossing off each small thing gives me more motivation and a feeling of accomplishment.


Fran’s pick: Plant Snacks sea salt cassava root chips

I’m warning you, you open up a bag of these chips and they’ll be gone in a night. Whenever I have that salty craving, I don’t hesitate to reach for the vegan cassava root chips– they’re super healthy and super delicious (but just don’t ask me what cassava root is, that’s a really good question). Having a healthy diet always makes me feel better inside and out, especially when going through an overwhelming time; be good to your body this upcoming week. It will be okay! 


Most importantly, the biggest tip we have is to believe in yourself! Good luck in the next week, Scouts!