Beating the ‘demons’ of stress as finals week draws near

It is soon going to be that time of the semester, where migraines start to increase, exhaustion begins to take over and appetites start to decrease. While taking final exams can improve some students’ grades in classes, other students dread that final exams will give them a failing grade. After long nights of cramming and studying, final exams lead to a huge problem: stress.

Stress is an “internal college demon” that causes a lot of strain and tension in a college student’s life. Stress is a psychological concept that is very powerful; it affects people on a mental, emotional and physical level. A mental level involves the functions of the mind, an emotional level involves internal and external feelings, and the physical level deals with health issues.

Would you believe me if I said most students bring stress on themselves during final weeks? Would you also believe me if I said stress could be eliminated if students took the initiative to prevent it?

The best way to prevent stress during finals week is prevention. Syllabi are handed out the first week of the new semester, and every student has his or her entire semester of work in his or her hand. On the syllabus are dates when the final exam will be taken, so students have an ample amount of time to prepare months in advance to study. It might sound absurd to study three months in advance for a final, but it is the best option to prevent stress during finals week.

Establishing priorities and setting goals is a huge reason why planners became popular. If you don’t have a planner, it would be a good idea to buy one. Having a planner is beneficial because students can write down what goals they want to accomplish every day. In relation to finals week, write down what days you would want to study for each class. Prevent studying for three classes all in one day, because it will cause a huge headache. Instead, devote a day or two to study for an individual class, and this will divide the time equally.

Another benefit of setting goals is that it will reduce the possibility of procrastination. Aside from stress, procrastination would be the second “internal college demon.” Students procrastinate when they say they will study on Monday, but Monday becomes Tuesday, Tuesday becomes Wednesday, Wednesday becomes Thursday. Finally, the study time that was devoted to Monday ends up being pushed back to Friday. Set goals for yourself and follow those goals every day.

Studying 24/7 can lead to migraines, dizziness, tiredness, irritation, frustration and other health problems. If a student is staring at a textbook for four hours without taking a break, then those words can cause eye strain. Straining your eyes from reading leads to the symptoms I mentioned above. Yes, it is important to study diligently during finals week, but it is also important to take care of your health first.

An important way students can study for finals and also be successful is to take time out for themselves. Take an hour or two to take a nap or to watch your favorite television show to relax your mind. Take a nice walk outside and enjoy nature to get a fresh breeze for a while. Go out to a party with friends and have fun, but also remember not to party too much, because finals are right around the corner.

To prevent headaches from turning into migraines, don’t let your stomach growl at you. Always eat when studying for a final. Try to prevent eating a lot of greasy foods and try eating healthy foods because they help the body to function more efficiently. Drink a lot of fluids, preferably water, and do not always rely on caffeine to keep you awake.

After studying forever for a final exam and the feeling of failure still exists, remember to always think positively. Even if a student is failing a class, and taking the final is the only hope of boosting his or her grade, there is a huge possibility that an A can be earned. Most of us start to lose confidence when we see that our grades aren’t what we expected them to be, so we become stressed out.

Every student who is enrolled in college is very intelligent, or the college would’ve never accepted them. Think of yourself as a statistic that improves the college’s IQ, and without students, the college would be nothing. Even when studying seems to fail during final weeks, always think positively and have an open mind.