In the midst of finals week, students are trying to keep pace with their schedule full of exams while maintaining a healthy mindset in order to excel in their courses.
Final exams began Tuesday, Dec. 1 and will end Wednesday, Dec. 9. During this time, students are academically inclined to succeed but are also trying to find ways to alleviate stress. Students share productive methods that have helped them avoid the struggles of procrastination and burnout.
Bella Halverson, university studies junior, said one effective way to avoid stress is to make a plan and study ahead of time.
“Studying only a few days before finals is stressful and can cause you to actually forget material on the exam because you have been cramming in too much information in a [short] time,” Halverson said. “I balance my time... by using a planner to schedule out exactly when I need to be studying and preparing for my final exams. [There’s] specific hours in the day when I know I will be the most productive.”
Similarly, Neal Green, English and history junior, said studying for finals should be spread out over an extended period so students have a sufficient amount of time to prepare.
“I encourage everyone to keep perspective and visualize a point in the near future,” Green said. “I try to make a to-do list when finals come around so I am reminded to get my work done constantly. I usually make sure to allocate some time every night, no matter what that is, dedicated to studying only.”
While it is important to study for all exams, visualization sophomore Tessa De La Fuente said another way for students to reduce stress is to prioritize courses they may be struggling in rather than focusing on everything at once.
“It is best to evaluate each class individually,” De La Fuente said. “Don’t neglect a class you traditionally excel in, [but] if a class is traditionally more difficult to you, put some time aside to study more.”
De La Fuente said succeeding during finals week means being able to maintain a healthy balance between working and relaxing.
“If you want to get the best grade you can, you will know when to study and when to break,” De La Fuente said. “Try avoiding temptation by being in a closed environment and letting others around you know that you are unavailable, but… [don’t] burn yourself out. Listen to music, talk with friends [or] take a short nap if you need to.”
Halverson said although it may be tempting to complete everything in one sitting, it will not generate the most productivity.
“It is important to take frequent breaks and to reward yourself after longer study sessions,” Halverson said. “Your brain needs to rest when it has been working hard to take in and study large amounts of material. Getting up and moving your body during a break can help optimize your brain’s functions and keep you from becoming tired.”
Moreover, rather than just scrolling through social media, Green said being active during breaks will not only help energize students but also effectively reduce stress.
“I think it builds a positive study environment, allowing me to mitigate burnout,” Green said. “I like to exercise during finals week because it helps me decompress and release some of that pent up finals frustration.”
Even though the end of the semester can be challenging with finals, Halverson said it is crucial that students don’t neglect self-care.
“I encourage students to remember that yes, grades are important, but your mental health is even more so,” Halverson said. “Take time for yourself, even during finals week. Remember that you and your mental health matter, despite [your] grades.”