Finals week is quickly approaching, and students are getting closer to the finish line, which is stirring up feelings of stress among the student body.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by the endless list of assignments, papers, projects and exams you have due in the next two weeks, take a deep breath and check out the five ways you can reduce your stress during finals week.
It can be easy to convince yourself you can wait until the last moment to start studying for an exam because you tell yourself you’ll just cram the information in right before the exam. Spencer Bell, assistant psychology professor, said cramming information for an exam can hurt students in the long run, especially if they need to retain that information for other classes in the future.
Bell recommends students try to study a little bit after each class to help aid in remembering the subject material. While cramming may seem like a tempting option, for students who tend to procrastinate, it can hinder your ability to recall information when it comes to actually taking the exam.
Laying out your priorities in preparation for finals can be challenging. This problem usually stems from procrastination leading students to resort to multitasking in an attempt to finish their assignments quicker, and perhaps, incorrectly. Paige Torsak, a junior marketing major from San Diego, California, has advised the students she peer coaches that multitasking does more harm than good when it comes to time management.
“We taught them about how switch-tasking works and how much time you actually waste by doing that,” Torsak said.
Instead, Torsak encourages her students to devote their attention to one task at a time. If you are struggling to figure which assignment to work on first, Torsak recommends completing assignments in the order they are due to avoid turning assignments in late.
Bell also suggests students should engage in regular physical activity to help mitigate the impact of stress. Exercise can increase the production of endorphins in your body, which act as “your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters.” If you don’t have time to complete a full workout or visit the gym, take a five-minute walk around the neighborhood or throw an impromptu dance party.
Take a break
When students get on a roll with studying for an exam or working on a project, it may feel difficult to stop because they are in the zone and being productive. However, Yulisa Castaneda, a junior media studies major from Wendover, cautions students against studying for hours on end without a break.
“If you take a few minutes to breathe and regather, it’s much easier to study for longer periods of time,” Castaneda said.
If you are unsure of how to structure your breaks, try out the Pomodoro Technique where you work on a task for 25 minutes and then take a break for five minutes. After completing your fourth cycle, take a longer break up to 30 minutes. During those breaks, you could stretch, make yourself a snack, chat with a friend, or even take a quick nap.
Lean on your support system
When you are stressed, you may shut out your friends and family in an attempt to prevent distractions from disturbing your studying. Bell said students tend to isolate themselves in study rooms during finals, but reaching out to your social supports like friends, family or even classmates can help reduce stress.
If you still want to focus your energy on studying, form a study group with other students in your class so you can socialize while preparing for your upcoming exams. Students can also plan an end-of-the-semester gathering with friends to motivate them to finish strong and celebrate all their hard work.
Finals week is ultimately what you make of it, so take the time to not only focus on your studies, but also pay attention to your mental and physical health. You have devoted so much time and energy into this semester, so end it on a high note.