Finals Week: Stress Less

PAIGE LISTON | | Opinion Columnist

Finals week has come. Students’ stress levels are quickly reaching their peak.

Between the lack of sleep from spending hours on end trapped in the library and the increased workload, finals can make anyone feel they will not be able to get through the week.

Ninety-six percent of students said their stress levels increase with final exams, according to a survey conducted by ChildLine. 59 percent of students said they felt added pressure from their parents to do well.

In addition, almost half of the students surveyed said they skip meals, two-thirds have had trouble sleeping, and 14 percent said they use alcohol as a means to cope with stress related to school.

These statistics do not surprise me. Maybe the statistics do not surprise you, either.

But it is a shame that a large percentage of students allow stress associated with final exams to negatively affect their health.

Sophomore Gabrielle Dunn said she believes too much weight is placed on finals week.

“I think that all the stress comes from putting too much pressure on ourselves,” Dunn said. “In the long run, will this one organic chemistry test make or break my life?”

“Probably not, and yet I put this pressure on myself anyways.”

Dr. Beth Cabrera, a senior scholar for the George Mason University Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, said students should take the pressure off themselves and put things into perspective.

“Do not give an exam more importance than it actually has. Remind yourself that any particular test is one of many you will take as a student. No single exam measures your potential or determines your future,” Cabrera said. “Try to keep things in perspective.”

Although it is important to perform well in school, it is also important to keep a healthy outlook on life. It is healthy for students to realize that doing poorly on one test is not the end of the world.

Students need to find the time to relax, for the sake of their own well-being.

Sophomore Kailey Eaton said she recognizes the need to loosen up when school gets to be too much.

“The thought of taking four finals makes me panic, especially because my grade is depending on these exams,” Eaton said. “I try to bring down the levels of stress I experience through exercising.”

I agree with Eaton. It is important to recognize when you feel overwhelmed and to find an outlet to channel these feelings in a healthy way.

Cabrera listed keeping up a regular exercise routine as a key component to managing stress levels. She said physical activity boosts your energy levels and provides mental clarity.

During finals week, Cabrera said students should eat healthy, regular meals and stay away from the temptation of junk food.

Also, students need to give themselves well-deserved study breaks.

Students who stayed up all night to study had a lower GPA than students who did not stay up, according to research from St. Lawrence University. Pulling an “all-nighter” is not the answer to relieve test anxiety.

Finally, students must remember that no one is perfect.

Always try your best, but remember that your well-being is just as important.

So next week, when the stress of your final seems to be getting to you, remember to sleep, keep up with your regular routine, eat healthily and keep things in perspective.

One test does not determine your success or your future.


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