Managing Stress at the End of the Semester

Dateline: student newspaper

By: Sarah Kaehler

File Under: exams, help, stress

As someone who spends little time studying and most of my time worrying, the idea of writing an article about managing stress towards the end of the semester could be pretty, well, stress inducing. A survival guide full of tips for finishing those final projects, papers or studying for exams from someone like me just did not seem feasible. But like most of the projects we all will be facing soon, I simply needed to implement the tactics I share with you today. Naturally I sought council from various professors of the College of Mount St. Joseph, because as students, they are one of our most valuable resources.

  • Relax. This cannot be stressed enough, as it is one of the first things out of the mouths of professors. Dr. Mike Sontag, philosophy professor, informed me that what most people consider time studying is actually time spent worrying. Don’t waste time worrying as it detracts from how well you work. Focusing only on the task at hand ensures you will produce the best work possible and stay calm as those all-nighters begin to seem inevitable.
  • Eat well, sleep well. Speaking of all-nighters, they should be avoided as much as possible. While the idea of using time spent sleeping to read or write for just a little longer is enticing, getting rest will improve the quality of the work. Dr. Liz Mason, English professor, advises making sure your body stays energized, whether it is by taking a power nap or eating a healthy snack, which is also just as important for the mind as sleep. By no means should you put off your work in favor of sleeping past noon or scarfing down some fries, but when you start to feel tired or hungry, it’s your body letting you know you’ve earned a break.
  • Make studying a social event. Dr. Mason also proposes that, if possible, working together should always be encouraged. As the end of the semester creeps upon us, we may find ourselves sacrificing time with friends in favor of hours locked in dorm rooms, hunched over desks. But being dedicated students doesn’t necessarily entail forgoing all the fun of the college experience. Forming study groups is a great way to feel prepared and excited to spend time with the peers you’ve grown to love. 
  • Get organized. You know those planners distributed at the beginning of the semester? Use them! Ms. Cynthia Davenport, math professor, suggests using lists to prioritize that growing pile of homework. Break down not only what needs to be done when, but also the amount of time each project will require. Then as you cross tasks off your list, the sense of accomplishment will help ease the stress. Also, using organization helps you remember everything that needs to get done, so you’ll never forget about an assignment until the night before it’s due again.