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The 4 kinds of friends you need to survive finals season (virtual edition)

Quizlet HQ · Posted by Alexa  December 15, 2020
4 friends you need for finals.png

Quizlet is proud to partner with real students and recent graduates to showcase authentic voices on our blog. This guest post is by Nicolette Kier, who just graduated from the University of Pittsburgh.

You can go ahead and tell me you’re not a whole different person during finals season. I won’t believe you. The shared reality of caffeine- and cortisol-fueled 24-hour cram sessions—not to mention the silent battle for an outlet to charge your laptop—changes everyone for a week or two.

How could it not?

Before the pandemic hit, you had your ride-or-dies with you to survive exam season. Now it may feel like you’re too far apart to bear the brunt of finals together.

But that’s just not the case.

Here are the four foundational friend types that make up a successful study squad, and some ideas for staying connected with them, virtual-style.

The “Let’s focus, guys” friend

Focused friend during finals.jpegI really need this kind of friend during finals, and everywhere else, honestly.

This kind of friend is prepared for anything, and this is especially true during finals season. They’ve compiled their notes (with immaculate handwriting, no doubt), set up a study schedule, and are ready to hunker down in the library for the next week and a half.

They have already been at the library (or in the common room or computer lab, etc.) for hours, so they are holding down the fort by the time you arrive. Everyone relies on this friend to lead the group and keep the phone-addicted degenerates focused.

(I’m kidding. But to the kid who was on Snapchat while I was trying to explain how to use the Schrodinger equation to calculate a wave function, I’m looking at you.)

This year, though, there is no gathering at the library. There’s no way to make everyone get off their phones and focus, at least not in person.

How to connect with this kind of friend virtually

You can host an online study session with classmates, or with friends who aren’t in the same classes but who also have exams and papers due.

If the “Let’s focus, guys” friend is you, you can still keep people on task virtually. First, make sure everyone sets their phones to “Do Not Disturb.” Then, consider using a timer to alert the group when it’s time for a break. If you’re using the Pomodoro Technique to increase productivity by taking scheduled breaks at 25-minute intervals, you can use this online timer. Alternatively, just set a timer and tell everyone when to stop working.

Then, you and your friends can keep each other accountable when break time is over by making sure everyone gets back to work.

The “We need a break” friend

kermit-says-take-a-break.jpgI have never known Kermit to steer me wrong.

A crowd favorite, this is the friend who can see when you’re burnt out, even when you can’t. They recognize those tired, strained eyes and say:

“You need a break.”

They then whisk you away from your study cave and take you to get coffee, watch a movie, or some other form of self-care.

It’s important to have a friend like this to counterbalance the “Let’s focus, guys” friend. You can’t work all the time, or you will inevitably write nonsense sentences on your final papers. You’ll entirely forget how to solve a linear matrix even though you stared at it for four hours last night before going to bed at 4 a.m. (I do not advise this, but desperate times call for desperate measures.) And then all that cramming time will have been for nothing.

In short, you cherish these friends. But, how do you reach them during finals week if they can’t physically separate you from your laptop?

How to connect with this kind of friend virtually

If there’s anything we’ve had to learn this year, it’s how to entertain ourselves online. The same applies in this case.

[Note: These breaks are meant to be intentional and rejuvenating. They’re not supposed to be a form of procrastination. So it’s important to try and schedule these breaks in, or listen to someone you trust when they can tell you need rest.]

Meet these friends online to watch a movie or play a video game. Do a screen share of a yoga video and get a practice in. Chat while doing beauty care or making art. Or just chat in general.

This kind of friend will help you relax and leave you energized to get back on your study grind.

To keep the stress from getting to you, here are 12 tips for self-care during finals.

The emotional support/hype man friend

hype man friend for finals.jpgActual footage of me shouldering my friends’ self-doubt so they can shine on test day.

There are two different versions of this friend: the emotionally supportive friend and the straight-up hype man. But one person can take on both roles.

The emotionally supportive friend is the one who will come as soon as they can when you call them in a crisis. They’ll lift you out of your spiral of despair, talk you through your struggles, and then give you a hug.

The hype man is the one who talks you up before an exam, often while walking you to your exam room. Sometimes the hype man is also there when you finish. This friend might give you a hug, clap your back, or shake your hand and salute you, recognizing that finals season is a battle to be won.

But sadly, hugs and handshakes are a no-go right now.

How to connect with this kind of friend virtually

This one is pretty easy.

Remember what I said about the friend who always comes when you call? You can still call them. They’ll just “show up” in the form of a phone call or video chat. Maybe they will send you positive content, or tell you affirmations. Then you can print those affirmations or jot them down on post-it notes and hang them where you can see them.

And the friend who hypes you up? Call or text them right before an exam. Let them calm your nerves and remind you of the hard work you’ve put in. Listen when they tell you how smart you are, and believe them when they tell you that you will crush your exams.

I personally like to hash out an exam after I finish it. This takes the emotional charge out of it, and puts space between me and the great endeavor that is taking a final exam. Some people like to call someone just so that they’ll stop thinking about it.

Either way, call up your hype man.

The “Are you guys hungry? Because I’m hungry” friend

take out with friends while studying.jpgThe hero we didn’t know we needed.

You have either been this person, or you have been grateful for this person. Either way, this person is arguably the most vital member of the squad.

This friend is the kind who will bring you food or coffee if you ask them to. Or they’ll just have snacks on deck for the night ahead. (You’re not technically supposed to have hot food in the library, but we both know you’d be lying to my face if you told me you never had Chipotle in there.)

The “getting food” part is obviously a very in-person activity. But this doesn’t mean that these heroes no longer exist.

How to connect with this kind of friend virtually:

This is mostly an excuse to order takeout. But the key is, you order it together. As in, each of you orders takeout from somewhere at the same time, and then you’ll have food at the same time (roughly).

Then you’ll all be having good food when you’re studying. You won’t be sitting together in the traditional sense, but video chatting while you’re both eating is pretty close. You don’t even have to agree on a place, which is great for those who are nowhere near a campus.

The only problem with this, of course, is that you have to choose your own restaurant to get takeout from. And if you’re a “I’m good with whatever” kind of person, I wish you luck.

So there it is: The foundational squad upon which good final exam grades are built.

It’s true that you can’t hold each other up in person. But with the help of these tips to stay connected remotely, you never have to feel alone. And as important as it is to remember this throughout the year, it’s absolutely vital during finals season.

Nicolette Kier just made it to the other side of a degree in physics and writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She reaped the usual rewards of college: knowledge, a job, and debt. She thinks it was worth it.



I love your app madam.

snaylor8  plus

thank you, but I don't have friends >w<


dang thats complecated


this was awesome.


I no have no friends