Welcome to Finals Week and Ways to Waste Time
It’s finals week, and that means stress, exhaustion, and emotions are running high in Isla Vista. With the weather and our professors seemingly conspiring to make this week as miserable as possible, it seems like most Isla Vistans will spend the next several days stressed out, bummed out, and burnt out. But it doesn’t have to be that way. According to my hasty calculations, this is at least my tenth round of college-level finals — if you include summer classes and such —so I think I’ve earned the right to consider myself a bit of an expert in the field. Sure, I may not have retained all of what I learned while cramming for the many finals I’ve taken over the years, but I have learned one thing for sure, and that’s how to get through finals without freaking out.
For me, the key to excelling during exam week is remembering not to take it too seriously. Sure, tests are important and — as their name implies — finals are your last chance to prove to your professors, parents, and TA’s that you deserve a perfect grade, even if your attendance and attention-span were a little less than stellar. But, let’s face it, no matter how long and hard you study, there’s a limit to how much you’re going to retain. So why not step away from the note cards, put down your pens, and try one of the following activities — expressly designed and road-tested by me, the paradigm of procrastination — to give your mind, body, and soul a chance to rest, reboot, and regroup during this hectic week.
What better way to relax when it’s raining than with a good movie? When the weather outside is frightful — or just plain cold and wet — nothing beats curling up on the couch with a cute boy and a fabulous flick. Luckily for us Isla Vistans, we have Emerald Video on Pardall Road, a place where you can pick up both. Well, there’s no guarantees that the crazy sexy cool collection of film geek guys who work the counter at Emerald will go home with you, but I can promise that a trip to Emerald guarantees you’ll be going home with a great piece of entertainment, if not a great piece of something else.
And I know I’ve gushed about this movie Mecca before, but really, you can never say too many good things about the only place in I.V. where you can get Disney‘s overhyped and underwhelming big-budget blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Parker Posey‘s latest underhyped and oversexed indie flick The Oh in Ohio in one trip. Plus, they have a killer collection of TV shows on DVD — check out Absolutely Fabulous, Weeds, and Big Love for enough comedy and drama to brighten up your entire week — and entire shelves dedicated to directorial phenoms like David Cronenberg and Kevin Smith.
If a movie doesn’t sound like enough of a break for you — or if you’re a film major like me and you really just want to get off the couch for a change — how about a cocktail party with a twist: nonalcoholic drinks. We all know we go to the University of Casual Sex and Beer and how proud we are that UCSB proves U Can Study Buzzed, but just in case studying and drinking don’t mix well for you, I have a way to get all the socialization of a night out on the streets without any of that pesky hangover stuff to get in the way of studying in the morning.
Here’s my recipe for a perfect pre-finals party: board games, lots of board games. Sure, it sounds like the makings of a party straight out the Babysitter’s Club, but believe it or not, a night of board games can be fine fun for everyone. Grab a few of those cute little cup-holder crates full of peppermint mochas, pumpkin lattes, and white and dark hot chocolates for the non-caffeinated folks in your crew and stock up on candy canes, popcorn, cookies, and veggies. Then check out some unconventional new board games like Pimp City — available at www.pimpcitythegame.com — a pimped-out and pumped-out version of Monopoly where your the pimp and you have to master the art of succeeding in a world full of cat fights, truth or dare, neighborhood watch, slammer time, sugar daddies, and, of course, the obligatory tricks and ho’s. For something slightly less risqué, try one of the games from the Scene It library. These DVD-based board games let you test your trivia knowledge on topics as diverse as movies, television, sports, James Bond, classic films, Friends, Disney movies, Nickelodeon, Marvel Comics, and more. More information is available at www.screenlifegames.com/sceneit.aspx.
Finally, if you’re just looking for a quick study break, why not do a little mindless web surfing? Sure, it’s not going to get you away from your desk, but it can help you take your mind off your work. Everyone knows about Myspace.com, Facebook.com, and Youtube.com, but did you know there’s plenty of other places to procrastinate online that are slightly more off the beaten path and slightly less likely to garner derisive stares from your roommates than your Facebook-stalking habit will. Check out http://dynamic.abc.go.com/streaming/landing for full-length, free episodes of your favorite ABC shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, and Lost. Full-length episodes of NBC’s shows, including the buzzed-about 30 Rock, Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip, and My Name Is Earl are available at http://www.nbc.com/Video/rewind/full_episodes/. For clips ranging from recipe how-to’s from Food Network superstars to hilarious moments in British television, check out http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/video_guide/ and http://www.ifilm.com/channel/tvclips. And for music and your daily fix of the television equivalent of eating an entire bag of Cheetos in one sitting, Laguna Beach, check out http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/#/overdrive/. Just don’t blame me when you feel fat, depressed, and covered in processed cheese afterwards.
Ultimately, from movies to mocktail parties and plenty of entertainment on the internet, there are lots of options for people looking to chill out instead of stress out during finals week. Because let’s face it, studying is nice and all, but procrastinating is a much more fun way to pass the time. And, since there are no classes during finals week, you’ll always have time to study later. Or at least that’s what I keep telling myself.