With finals week fast approaching, if you’re at all like most of us, you’re probably wondering how you are going to survive the crippling stress of finals. Well, to reassure you that you can and will survive finals week, here are 5 tales of survival for you to take comfort in. Spoiler alert! The individuals from these stories all survived despite horrible conditions, which means you can surely survive finals week.
1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, in this must-read science fiction novel, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The aliens can take human bodies and they can look, speak and act exactly like humans – how can the human race win in this situation? How can they form alliances when anyone could be the enemy? With the Earth’s last survivors scattered, Cassie believes the only way to stay alive is to stay alone. Cassie is forced to choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
2. 127 Hours
In April 2003 Aron Ralston, a 27-year-old hiker, fell and was trapped in a narrow crevasse, his right arm wedged against the rock wall by a boulder. Mr. Ralston’s ordeal was a struggle for survival and a profound existential crisis. He had gone to Bluejohn Canyon, Utah, for a rock-climbing weekend alone. Not telling anyone where he is going is part of the point: real freedom means getting a clean break from civilization and the burdens of family, friends, and other responsibilities. Finding himself stuck, he knows he can’t expect anyone to come to his rescue, which forces him to ruminate about his family, his ex-girlfriend, and the hereafter. As a trained engineer and a skilled–albeit somewhat careless–outdoorsman, he understands his predicament as a practical challenge, a technical problem. After struggling for more than five days, he makes an imminently logical decision about its solution. The movie is pretty extreme; it may be too disturbing to watch for some people, and you may need to turn away during parts of the film. So basically, it’s a must see.
3. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
Into Thin Air–a highly recommended story–is a riveting first-hand account of a catastrophic expedition up Mount Everest. In March 1996, Outside magazine sent veteran journalist and seasoned climber Jon Krakauer on an expedition led by celebrated Everest guide Rob Hall. Despite the expertise of Hall and the other leaders, by the end of summit day eight people were dead. Krakauer’s book is at once the story of the ill-fated adventure and an analysis of the factors leading up to its tragic end. Written within months of the events it chronicles, Into Thin Air clearly evokes the majestic Everest landscape. As the journey up the mountain progresses, Krakauer puts it in context by recalling the triumphs and perils of other Everest trips throughout history. The author’s own anguish over what happened on the mountain is palpable as he leads readers to ponder timeless questions.
4. Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Creatures once extinct now roam Jurassic Park, soon-to-be opened as a theme park. Until something goes wrong…and science proves a dangerous toy.
Now, you might have seen the movie–it did go on to become one of the most popular movies of all time, grossing over a billon dollars, and changed the way we looked at special effects forever–but I highly encourage reading the novel. There are hundreds of pages of action that were not included in the motion picture, additional plot twists, new dinosaurs and other surprises to prove to all that Crichton’s original was sheer genius.
5. The Descent
In this British horror-thriller, six women meet in a remote part of the Appalcahians to go on a caving expedition in an unmapped cave system, which in hindsight might not have been the smartest move. Their adventure soon goes horribly wrong when a collapse traps them deep underground, and they find themselves hunted by troglofaunal flesh-eating humanoid monsters! They are literally fighting for their lives.
So besides the comfort of knowing others–even if some of them are fictional–have survived worse than IU finals week, what can we take away from these five titles that apply to your own survival?
Sleep is important. Don’t stay up all night.
Eat well. You need brain food (i.e. not Ramen on-the-go).
Drink plenty of water. It’s vital for staying healthy.
Maps are useful. You don’t want to be late to your final (or eaten by flesh-eating monsters).
Take regular, scheduled breaks. (Okay, most of the survivors in the stories couldn’t actually do this, so you should be even more comforted that you can.) Every 3 hours or so, take a break from studying and recharge. Your studying will be more beneficial if you take some time to do something invigorating or relaxing like exercising or reading/watching one of these 5 super fantastic survival titles!
Relax. You are going to make it through; the apocalypse hasn’t hit yet.
And one last tip from the most important survival book you will ever read, Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead:
“Remember; no matter how desperate the situation seems, time spent thinking clearly is never time wasted.”
-Krista K. Mullinnix