Even when our GPAs are teetering on the brink and our futures seem uncertain, there is one thing that college students can always rely on: memes. There is a meme for every emotion a college student can possibly feel, from the terror of the job hunt to the stress of getting grades back. In the digital age that we live in, surfing memes has become a legitimate source of stress relief for students during finals, right up there with exercise and...well, the other type of exercise, if you know what we mean. Memes just have a way of capturing students' feelings in a way that nothing else can, and seeing our own misery reflected back at us, whether in the form of kittens or Cruella de Vil, has a feeling of solidarity to it that's hard to beat as a quick fix for the exam blues. We took it upon ourselves to round up our 15 favourite memes about the final stretch for your viewing pleasure.
15 When exam week is finally over
Every student knows that it's really not an exaggeration to compare finals week to the plight of Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings. Like Frodo and Sam, during exam week, you eventually lose track of all your friends, you willingly enter into the darkest of realms (for them, Mordor, for us, libraries), and you gradually forget the feeling of joy. However, as the horrors of the final stretch mirror those of Frodo and Sam's journey into Mordor, so does the incredible relief of finally finishing that last exam compare to the solace the hobbits find on the side of Barad Dur after destroying the One Ring. Despite the fact that the mountain is basically exploding on top of them, Frodo and Sam revel in the feeling of relief at finally being rid of the Ring once and for all. Similarly, no matter how badly that last test went, nothing can dampen that feeling of pure, unadulterated joy at finally walking out that last final exam.
14 When you cram the entire course the night before your exam
Every student knows that unique feeling of pride that comes from learning an entire course's subject matter in a single night. Whether you were too busy partying or preoccupied with the very serious business of lying for hours in bed (trust us, it's serious—we're an expert), you somehow managed to attend a grand total of zero of your classes, and now, you have a single day before your final exam, having never seen the material before. However, 12 hours (and a few dozen Red Bulls) later, you have somehow managed to stuff the entirety of the course into the confines of your skull, and you can't help but feel a bit smug about yourself when you walk out of the final with a passing grade.
13 When you can't tell sense from bullsh*t anymore
Anyone who has ever taken an essay-based course knows how it feels when you can't tell the facts from your own bullsh*t anymore. After 18 straight hours of staring at your computer, your brain starts to melt just a little bit (you're pretty sure you can feel it trickling down your neck or—no, never mind, you just missed your mouth when you went to take a swig of coffee, because what are mouths after 18 hours at a desk?). You're reading and rereading your essay, and the points stop being points so much as abstract shapes dancing across the backs of your eyelids. Gradually, all sense of reason decomposes and, whether your essay is analyzing the politics of the American Civil War or debating the coolness of beer pong (while on the topic, it is not cool), it will seem like a God-send to your melted brain.
12 When you see eager first years excited for morning classes
It's adorable to see freshmen with their high hopes and optimism. However, we third- and fourth-year veterans know the routine—you start out strong, then your life is gradually sucked away throughout the semester, to be returned to you in full swing the second you walk out of the last exam (and then a portion is sucked away again when you get your grades back). But those freshmen. Excited to choose their paper topics. Doing their makeup on exam day. Dressed up for 8 a.m. class. So cute. And as you watch them in their eager beaverness, you remember what it felt like to be them, and for a few moments, you revel in the remnants of that optimism that the memory evokes. But as fast as it arises, it's gone again, and you climb into your sweatpants which you've been wearing inside out because you haven't done laundry in a month, before placing your textbook on your face as you sleep to try to absorb the material through osmosis.
11 When the curve saves the day
There's no feeling like seeing your final grade and thinking, "What the eff?" (the good kind of "What the eff?" though). You didn't quite put your "full effort" into the course (AKA you didn't attend any classes or do any readings or turn in any assignments) and you knew walking into the exam that it wasn't going to be a good one for you, yet now, you see your grade and you did...well? Then, you remember that the professor said the final grades would be curved and you shake your head, never having imagined it would save your sorry butt in such a huge way. Turns out, you weren't the only one who didn't put their "full effort" into the course, and with everyone being a lazy bum, the average grade had been quite unfortunate indeed—but excellent for the curve. You kiss your grade and mentally bless the inherent laziness of college students.
10 When hygiene and clothes cease to matter
Starting finals week can feel like entering a different dimension. The pleasures of the past are no more and life becomes about one thing and one thing only: school. Gone are the days of eating good, actual food, seeing friends becomes a thing of the past and makeup becomes a luxury for bourgeois fools (okay, I've been doing too many readings for my socialism class). With the entirety of your brainpower focused on your next exam, you have no thoughts to spare for clothes or makeup the few times you manage to leave the house. So, you basically live in your oldest pair of sweatpants, and those dark circles beneath your eyes become a permanent feature, so much so that you name them Fred and Molly.
9 When you are so done
Everyone reaches that point where they are just done. But even this feeling is possible to persist through. However, when that feeling of being done graduates into the mythical so done, there is no remedy. Like hitting the wall during a marathon, your brain just quits working on you in the middle of the essay. No matter how much you try to whip it back into action or entice it with promises of Gilmore Girls marathons after you're done studying, it is just not cooperating. Eventually, you realize you are at the mercy of your dead brain, and no amount of TV marathon promises will entice it to get back at it. So, you lean into the skid, breaking out your magical umbrella and floating away Mary Poppins-style (or maybe you're just hallucinating because you haven't slept in 20 hours).
8 When you're finally free at the end of exam week
When you walk out of that last final exam, there's always a bit of confusion mixed in with the ecstatic joy. You're...free? You don't have to study anymore? What?! How can that be? You've spent the last 100 hours in Gollum mode (you know, in the dark cave of your room where the only person you talk to is yourself), and now, your brain is telling you that you're...done? It can be hard to register for a while, with your mind almost unwilling to trust the fact that it can be happy again, but gradually, the feeling sets in, and the pure, unbridled joy of being done with all your exams overtakes you. Whether you do a dance or take a well-deserved nap, you finally allow yourself to exit Gollum mode and celebrate, having surpassed the great battle of your semester.
7 When no one talks about finals
The few times you do manage to see your friends during exam week, there is one thing you are not allowed to talk about: finals. After all, you did not take a break from studying just to talk more about studying. Yet there are always the friends that want to do this. You, on the other hand, faithfully believe that if no one mentions finals, then maybe, just maybe, they magically cease to exist. For a few blissful hours, you can gossip about your friend's latest relationship, or fill each other in on your summer plans, or immerse yourself in discussions of the latest Star Wars film. You can live in a world in which finals are but a distant memory, so that when reality drags you back into your dark, book-filled study, you can't help but feel a bit refreshed and ready to study again—LOL, just kidding. Nothing heals the gaping hole in the soul that is finals, except the end of finals.
6 When you live on coffee and red bull
The only thing students rely on more heavily than Netflix during the final stretch is caffeine. Whether in Red Bull, coffee or pill form, caffeine is the fuel of the studying student, keeping our brains alive and reviving our wills to live. But sometimes, we can overdo it. Whether it's during the all-nighter before your exam or your 2 a.m. essay-writing session, when you start to see rainbow circles on your laptop screen (and you don't have an Apple), you realize that maybe that ninth cup of coffee was one too many. However, even with your fingers shaking and your brain creating rainbows out of thin air, you are a seasoned veteran, and you harness the caffeine high, pushing your mind into hyperdrive as you memorize that last line of proteins.
5 When it literally feels like you're fighting an uphill battle
There are a lot of things that finals week lacks (joy, friends, did we say joy?), but melodrama isn't one of them. As you sit down for one last push at your paper or to begin your all-nighter before your organic chemistry exam, it's easy to see yourself as the valiant hero undertaking an impossible challenge. Against all odds, you are here, persevering through the worst of it and proving all those who doubted you wrong. The great battle has begun, and you will fight in it until the end. Of course, rather than orcs and catapults, your battle is geared towards pens and paper, but if you push your imagination hard enough (or deprive yourself of enough sleep), you can feel just as epic—okay, not really, but it's still fun to be dramatic.
4 When your inner child takes over
When your family asks you about what your post-finals plans are, they probably don't expect you to respond with the ideal night of a toddler from Rugrats. Yet after 10 days straight of essays, studying and tests where the only light of day you saw was when you trudged from your house to the library, you are just not in the mood to go crazy at a club. Sure, the time will come for booze and partying, but only after you have spent a sufficient amount of time in hibernation. Right now, all you are craving is some juice, the sweet solace of your bed and some good old fashioned sleep. Oh, and maybe some Netflix. Scratch that—definitely some Netflix. Hey, they might have Rugrats.
3 When you see your professor for the first time at the final
We've all been that person. Whether the class is recorded (hooray, Age of Information!), you have a friend in the class who takes notes for you or you really just don't give a damn, we've all had at least one class that we literally never attended once. You'd look at your phone and realize that class would be starting in 10 minutes, but for the thirteenth time, you'd decide that no, it just wasn't worth walking through the snow to get there. Besides, there was always next week! And then, at the end of the semester, having attended a grand total of 0 classes, you get to feel that special type of shame you feel when a professor whose class you took sees you at the final and realizes you never attended their course once. Cringe.
2 When you risk everything by starting a TV series during finals week
There are few things more dangerous than starting a new TV series during exam week. It always starts out innocently. You tell yourself that you've studied a lot today, so you deserve a nice, relaxing break. Your friends have told you Daredevil is good, so you decide to watch the first couple episodes as a break, then finish it after finals. And before you know it, you've watched 10 episodes in one day, skipping hours of allotted studying time, and you just can't decide whether you should give some thought to the way you make your life decisions, or finish the last three episodes. Of course, three episodes later, you mourn the end of Daredevil while simultaneously hating yourself and everything you stand for. Until you realize that the second season of Daredevil is available, that is.
1 When you look at memes instead of studying
If you're taking the time to read this article, then you can definitely relate to this last one. Memes have a way of capturing the inner thoughts of students in ways few other mediums can. Whether it's Gandalf helping us to face the battle that is finals week or Austin Powers reassuring us about our tendencies towards TV addiction, memes have got pretty much the entire array of college emotions covered. And, although some people would call it a waste of time, seeing our innermost feelings reflected in meme form is actually pretty valuable. It helps us to realize that we aren't alone in the way we are feeling and that, even if our emotions may seem ridiculous, we are feeling them and therefore, they are valid (we love a cheesy ending).