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Thursday, September 28, 2023


Kelly’s Korner: Survival Edition: A guide to staying alive

Imagine this scene: a lone man cautiously walks across the UH campus. There is a foreshadowing hush that has befallen this place, and there is not a soul in sight. No bicyclists attempting to run people over or people talking obnoxiously loud on their cell phone can be found. The weather is overcast with a slight chill, so, of course, this lone man is wearing three layers of clothing.

He heaves his enormous bag of supplies over his shoulder and wonders whether he brought enough. His favorite weapon is ready to go and has been sharpened for days. As he walks, he brushes the tips of his fingers over the point of this weapon — he is ready for anything.

This man has already decided his course of action. To survive this catastrophic event, he must become part of the undead. Pushing through the double doors of the building, he pauses with his weapon poised to take in the horror before him.

The undead are donned in clothes that should have been washed days before. Some are making guttural sounds as they softly hit their foreheads on the table. Their skin is a lackluster hue and their hair is ruffled and dirty. Dark circles surround their eyes like meth addicts in withdrawal.

He hears one zombie growl, “Brains! I need brains!”

In order to exist among them, he must become one of them.

This is not a description of a zombie apocalypse — it’s finals week, and it’s upon us.

While a chip has been brushed off our shoulder with the last day of classes behind us, a huge load has been placed on our back with the impending finals week. Students begin stressing over not being able to verbalize what they learned in their class all semester, so they read and reread paragraphs without comprehension.

Finals week is a horrific event for 95 percent of students, but there are do’s and don’ts to help make it more bearable.

Do: bring enough jackets and blankets to the library that it looks like you’re attempting to smuggle in something. The library gets inhumanly cold — especially at three in the morning — so layers are a must. If you’re a girl, I suggest putting shorts or tights under sweatpants. If you get hot, you can always rip off your Snap Pants with ease — that is, if you are cool enough to own Snap Pants.

Do not: run up to one of the girls handing out complementary Red Bulls and start singing “Hello” by Lionel Richie to the Red Bull. It may seem like this energy drink is your savior, but attempt to control yourself. Just take the energy drink and burrow back into your study hole.

Do: keep an eye on the time. I know at times a person is thinking, “Why even look at the time? I’m going to be here until the morning, so I don’t want to depress myself at how many consecutive hours I’ve been here. I don’t even remember what fresh air feels like…” The reason for keeping an eye on the clock is simple: food. Certain places will deliver to the library, and nothing makes you feel more powerful than watching the jealous eyes of other students stuck eating their snack machine food as you stroll past with your large pizza that you plan to vacuum into your pie hole.

Do not: study in your bed late at night. Before you realize it, you will wake up hours after planned, sounding like Robin Williams from Jumanji asking, “What year is it?”

Do: set multiple alarms when you feel yourself starting to get tired. Let me reiterate — find the most loud and obnoxious ringtone on your phone, and then set alarms in 30-minute intervals. You may have to fight the urge to destroy your phone after hearing Justin Bieber repeatedly call you “baby,” but at least you will be awake when your phone is sailing across the room towards the wall at high speed.

Do not: load up on copious amounts of coffee directly before your exam. It may seem like a wise way to keep yourself from drooling onto your Scantron, but it’s not. If you choose this highly caffeinated option, I cannot promise you that you will not have to use the restroom mid-exam. I also cannot promise that you will not go into cardiac arrest from drinking caffeine like a fish does water.

Do: schedule time to procrastinate. I don’t know about everyone else, but I need time to keep myself from ripping my hair out. Plan times to watch a show on Netflix or go get food and refreshments from Finals Mania. Your brain — and your scalp — will appreciate your generosity.

Ultimately, if you are one of the many students who set up camp in the library so long that you begin to resemble a legitimate zombie, I commend your dedication, but a quick shower and a nap in an actual bed never killed anyone. Happy finals!

Senior staff columnist Kelly Schafler is a print journalism junior and may be reached at [email protected]


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