There are ways to alleviate stress during finals week

Gabriella Pinos/ Staff Writer 

When students sit around Green or Hubert Library with laptops open, piles of papers and highlighters strewn across their tables and a venti Frappuccino at hand, you know finals week is upon us.

It’s the glorious time of year when stress is at an all-time high and our Instagram stories are filled with awkward pictures of students cramming for their exams the night before.

And while Starbucks is making a pretty penny off our terrible sleep schedules, finals week reflects a troubling trend for college students.

For many of us, the image of the tired, caffeinated student in the library is all too real. 30 percent of students in college reported feeling stressed within the last 12 months, according to the 2015 National College Health Assessment, while more than 85 percent felt overwhelmed by their responsibilities. 81.7 percent also felt exhausted due to factors other than physical activity.

Not only does this have a domino effect on academics, but on students’ mental health and personal lives as well. 61 percent of students who seek counseling in college report feeling anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association, while 45 percent of students cite stress as a major concern.

Our tendency to pull off all-nighters before finals doesn’t help either. Doing so rather than sleeping can be counterproductive and can lead to academic problems, according to a study done by the University of California, Los Angeles.

If stress during the semester were a plot diagram, finals week would be the climax – the time when pressure on students and studying-induced anxiety is at its peak.

It’s no wonder why so many websites and Pinterest boards now feature “survival kits” for finals week, or why we see so many memes on social media about stress from finals.

However, the negative connotation finals week carries is no laughing matter. The stress that comes with exams is debilitating to students who are already overwhelmed throughout the school year and must juggle different responsibilities in their lives. Because of this, some students don’t have the luxury of planning study schedules or even sleeping eight hours every day.

But while it seems like all of us are doomed to lose our sanity starting Dec. 3, that doesn’t mean we can’t freak out together.

If you feel like the “33 Stages of Finals Week” article from BuzzFeed speaks to you a bit too much, remember that you’re not alone. Most of the college students have been the late-night coffee-drinking zombie studying for finals, and we’re guaranteed to see some this year as well.

What’s important is to find others who can help you get through finals week, whether as tutors or friends or mental health professionals. The latter is most important; between 2014 and 2015, there has been a 30 percent increase in college students seeking appointments at counseling centers in universities, according to the American Psychological Association. Even if you feel silly for stressing over your next exam, speaking to someone about it can calm your nerves and alleviate your anxiety.

So this semester, rather than drink your mocha Frappuccino alone in the library, buy an espresso from Café Bustelo for your class’ study group, because no one should suffer through finals week alone.


The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo by Mike Marquez on Unsplash. 

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