Final Exam Stress!

It happens at the end of every semester, finals. Each semester we work towards preparing for our final exams that can either include everything we have learned through the year, just the last things we have learned, or a long paper to collect our thoughts and show the professor what we have learned.

Either way, Finals= STRESS for every university student. .

If you are suffering from stress, know that you are not alone.

Every student deals with it at some point in their education career.

You could be juggling school, work, a social life,  and you could also be having health issues or family issues. Everything just seems to fall on you all at once and your brain just starts to over think and you may feel like you’re going crazy. Some side effects of stress include: insomnia, anxiety, stress eating, forgetting to eat, procrastination, etc.

How your body tolerates stress can be individual, but how to cope with stress is another issue.

Some things that I, being a senior at Michigan State, would recommend would be to take things one day at a time.

Focus on one class at a time; doing this will help organize your thoughts, your notes and your time.

Dedicate a day to studying, writing a paper, researching, or whatever you need to do for one of your classes. The next day, choose a different class and continue this cycle and repeat if you have time.

Below are some tips for the types of exams you may be dealing with:

Written exam

If you have a written exam, try and focus on the class you have the most trouble with first.

Do this because studying it in advance will help you figure out any questions you may have and still allow you time to ask the professor or other students.

If you study your most confusing course last, it may be too late to ask, receive an answer, and apply it.

You may also have exams that fall on the same day, do not worry! Treat each exam as its own day and its own entity.

Do not stress that you have two exams on the same day, if you keep them separated in your mind, you will be calmer when it comes to studying for the exams.

Paper

Try and write a little bit each day.

If you are researching, write down what you learned from your research that day.

If you already did your research, just write something down every day. By writing every day, your mind gets used to the idea of writing and it becomes something normal, and you will finish your paper faster! Writing every day also helps collect all your thoughts and keep them more on track than if you wrote every 3-4 days or once a week. It is usually good to sit down and write a lot, but you do not need to write an entire paper all at once, especially when some of the papers are really long!

Presentation

This is a bit more difficult since many people do not like public speaking and get very nervous beforehand.

Try to not worry about public speaking, know that many people are just as nervous as you are.

If you have a presentation to give, use PowerPoint or Prezi, this usually helps take the focus off of you and put it to something that the audience can visualize. By having a visual aid there, the audience is more likely to focus on your presentation.

Writing down what you want to say also reinforces your argument and organizes your thoughts. If you are still nervous, remember that everyone in your class is there to learn, no one is better than anyone else.

Remember you are all there to get an education and your public speaking helps aid everyone in their education. You may end up teaching your classmates something they might not otherwise have known!

But what about the STRESS I’m feeling?

  • If you live in the dorms, each hall sets up some activities to do during finals week that you should participate in. These events will relieve stress, let you meet other people and give you a break from studying.
  • If you live off campus or don’t want to participate in these events, you can always create your own activities with friends or just come up with a reward to give yourself after each goal. Set goals for yourself and once you have reached them, reward yourself.
  • Go for a run! Exercise is always a great stress relief and great for your overall health!
  • Eat foods that are good for you! If you are someone who stress eats, go somewhere where you will not be tempted by the foods around you: library, friend’s house, etc.
  • Remember to eat!! You need food to be able to do well on your exams. Without food, your brain shuts down and you lose energy. If you are someone who forgets to eat, set an alarm for breakfast, lunch and dinner or have a friend remind you to eat.
  • Sleep. This is one of the harder things to do during finals as your brain is always working overtime. Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Having a set time for something lets your mind know that you have an agenda and it will help keep you focused more throughout the day. Knowing you have endless time to study makes your mind want to procrastinate as it feels the deadline is further away than it really is. Turn off your computer, silence your phone and keep your room in the perfect condition for sleeping (different for each person) and sleep! You can set an alarm to get up early in the morning if you did not finish something that day to avoid worry.

Remember that you are not alone when dealing with stress and if you ever need someone to talk to, turn to friends or family, if only to vent! Professors are always willing to help too! Email them or go into office hours anytime you have questions or just need someone to talk to. Keep your eyes on the prize, finals are only a week long and after that you have weeks of vacation!

Good luck on finals!

Anna Graziano is a fourth-year undergraduate student who was born in Kansas and has lived in Brazil, South Africa, Japan and around the United States. She is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Cultures and Politics at MSU’s James Madison College with minors in Portuguese and Educational Studies. Her interests vary from African culture to refugee services. Anna serves as a Programming Intern at OISS.

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