You did it. It’s over. You’ve finished your last final exam (your final final?) of the semester. You can live, breathe, SLEEP again. You may have emerged from your bedroom a little bit weaker, a little off-kilter, and sleep-deprived, but you are finally free. And after weeks of responsible studying, you’re especially free to reward yourself for all that hard work. Need help thinking of a few test-participation prizes? Give your brain a well-deserved rest. This is how you treat yourself after a week of exams…
TV Show Binge
If you’ve been stuck in a study hole the past couple of weeks, you probably missed the new shows they added to your streaming services at the start of the month. This is the perfect time to pick out a new show or an old favorite, lay flat and binge the day and night out of it. For me, it’s a couple of early seasons of MTV’s The Challenge they just popped up on Netflix, though the jury is out if some OG Challenge is enough to make up for the service’s recent price increase (give me back Frasier?)
Become A Professional Video Gamer
Or at least put in the time like you’re one. If you were good to yourself, you likely engaged in several mini battles as a reward during your study sessions, but this is your chance to really indulge and get some guilt-free, hours-long gaming in. You deserve it. You can always sleep tomorrow. And tomorrow night. And the next day, all day and night. Winter break is wonderful.
Make Yourself a Fancy Coffee or Hot Chocolate
While an entire pot of black coffee and maybe some faux-desert flavored creamer has most likely been your drink of choice during Finals Week, if you’re done with exams, why not reward yourself with something a little fancier. Try an Italian hot chocolate or a cereal milk latte and enjoy. But like, really enjoy it. The last time I foofed up my coffee (with four pieces of a Hershey’s bar, a ski slope amount of whipped cream and four servings of caramel sauce) I sat down on my couch, stared straight ahead, and looked at absolutely nothing while I slowly consumed it.
And it was something like a dream, a beautiful moment in my life that will never be forgotten.
Visit A Museum
If you’re playing it safe this year (to the dismay of some of your parents, but maybe grandma and grandpa are okay not seeing you) and won’t head home for the holidays, this is a good time to walk over to a museum while your college town is quieter, especially if you haven’t had a chance to visit one this year. A solo, no pressure stroll around some art exhibits is a relaxing post-exam reward, not to mention the museums located on or near campus are probably free for students. And free is nice.
Solo Movie Night
Order a box of Insomnia Cookies or Postmates yourself some Taco Bell (unless you banned it to heck like I did when they removed the Mexican Pizza) and nest yourself into the middle of a fluffy blanket like a baby bird. It’s movie marathon time! Time to make your way through a series of films that were added to your watch list – but never watched, no thanks to several weeks of finals torture. It’s okay. It’s all behind you. You’re safe now. At least until next semester.
Take A Yoga Class
While some of you may be thinking “What, you want me to reward myself with a workout?” others see yoga as a great way to relax and may have missed out on a few mindful, stress alleviating practice sessions recently. Try rewarding yourself with a legit class, especially if bedroom YouTube yoga was your go-to. With pandemic in mind, some states allow for lower capacity, socially distanced indoor classes, but don’t rule out an outdoor class on a mildly cold day to keep things safe. Especially if you’re planning on heading home for the holidays. Bonus, a lot of outdoor and rooftop yoga sessions are free!
Mini Shopping Spree
Rewarding yourself with tangible, store-bought items after a grueling exam week is a great way to rid yourself of a post-final exam hangover. But if frivolous spending on yourself isn’t really your thing you can always find joy in picking something up for a special someone this holiday on Etsy or at a local shop in town. You’ll also be helping small businesses during a trying time, which is rewarding in and of itself.
Eat Something GOOD
If you’re heading home for winter break, finding some goodies to inhale should be easy, especially during the holidays when family members are experimenting in the kitchen with all kinds of new recipes. After a final or four, you deserve to eat whatever chocolate coated, sugar, and sprinkled food item you lay your eyes upon. If you’re not home, or you just finished a final, order a pizza, pick up a bag of BBQ or send yourself a quart of Baskin-Robbins ice cream. On a diet? Time your cheat treats or cheat meal for after an exam. If food is your post-final exam reward – indulge and enjoy – there’s no better time than the holidays to do it.
The sun may be foreign to you these days, but it’s still up there. Crawl out of your online class/study hole with your squinty newborn baby eyes and reenter the world. Take in a few deep breaths of fresh, outside air and hit the pavement for a long walk, jog, or even a hike. Welcome back.
Nothing to read here. Head over to the bed, pull the covers up over your weary body, and sleep. Sleep as you’ve never slept in college before – free of morning alarms, looming exams, papers, and study sessions. Sleep like you’re trying to break a world record. Your winter break is pretty long. You’ve got this.