Unconventional Finals Prep: Procrasti-cleaning

You’d think that I’d be used to law school finals considering this is my 4th time (and, since I came right through from undergrad, I’ve been having final exams and papers every winter and every spring for the past 6 years of my life). Spoiler alert: I’m not used to them, at all, and I don’t think you ever really get “used” to finals or feel completely at ease, especially with law school finals. Each finals experience is different. Last year it was all exams, this year it’s exams mixed with papers. Last spring the weather was beautiful beckoning us to take a few extra walks in the sunshine, this spring Mother Nature seems stuck in dreary February cold and is forcing us inside. Last year things were perfectly spaced out for us and there were plenty of E&Es to rely upon, this year deadlines are jammed together and only one of my four classes has commercial study aids (and it’s Corporations, so that’s basically a lost cause).

There’s one thing that hasn’t changed, though. Procrastination is here, motivation is dwindling, and wits are reaching their end. There’s a common saying that “law school isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon,” and the clarity of that statement is never more clear than during finals prep. Though every finals season hits me just as hard, I’ve slowly come up with tried and true ways to make it through with (hopefully) a bit of sanity intact. One of my favorite things to do while prepping for finals is procrasti-cleaning. No, that’s not a real word, but yes, it is a real thing. I call it procrasti-cleaning to inject some humor into what has been, until now, a slightly melancholy blog post about a very melancholy time. Procrasti-cleaning is just what it sounds like: procrastination via cleaning. It’s procrastination, which is bad, but when you procrastinate by cleaning means at least you’re being productive in another sense. If I haven’t hooked you yet, hear me out.

If you told my parents 10 years ago that I’d be a neat and tidy adult, they would have laughed in your face. Well, looks like their neat-freak, sterile-based-living has in fact rubbed off on me, because now that I’m on my own I crave the same level of cleanliness. I’m nowhere near the level that they are yet, mostly because of time constraints and living in an apartment in a 100+ year old house just means dust is woven into the grooves of the floor (literally). But I found myself craving cleanliness- especially when I’m stressed in other ways and especially when school becomes stressful.

Enter: procrasti-cleaning. Like clockwork, and particularly in the spring, the first thing that starts to stress me out (besides school stress) is when my apartment is a mess. And, like a catch-22, my apartment is the most messy when I’ve got 700 other things to worry about (like school). If I walk into my room and the bed is made, clothes are put away, and clutter is minimal, I feel more at ease. So,one of the first things I do when it starts getting close to finals is tidy up my apartment. I don’t do a deep clean (there’s really NO time for that) and I do clean my space regularly, so it’s not like I only clean during finals! But this time I focus specifically on the space where I spend the most time. I like studying at home, at my desk in my bedroom, so I make sure my room is nice and clean. I vacuum every nook and cranny (including the radiator!); I completely re-make the bed with fresh linens, a freshly clean comforter, and pillowcases; I purge old paperwork that’s been collecting on or in my desk; I tidy up my closet and dresser; and I put away all knick-knacks and clutter and loose books.

Now that the room is clean, the benefits are palpable. When I walk into the room, my mind is more at ease, and it’s one less thing I have to worry about. I feel so much better emotionally and physically walking into a very clean room. Less clutter that I see means less clutter in my brain (at least that’s what I tell myself!). Starting with a clean slate makes me more inclined to keep it clean in the coming weeks as well, which will benefit me when finals roll around far too soon. And if spring ever gets here and I can throw open the windows, I know my mood will instantly improve again with fresh air AND a clean room! Oh, and one last thing: I feel that I accomplished something by cleaning, even if doing so was a ploy to procrastinate what I really should be accomplishing! So, if you hadn’t bought “procrasti-cleaning” as a benefit before this post, I hope you at least see the benefits now! And try it out- I promise that a clean room won’t make you feel worse, and you’ll likely feel a lot better.

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