The Week Before Finals: Can You Say Stressful?

When I came in the library today, there were students everywhere. They were printing, copying, working on computers, sitting in groups, reading alone and asking questions of our staff. The solemn intensity that weighed down the room meant only one thing: it was the week before final exams.

For many students, this week is the worst. At least during finals, they are not in class except to take their exams. But the week before, they are finishing up papers and assignments. There are often last chapter or unit tests to study for. And then there are the lectures that rushed professors are trying to get in before the semester ends. This is also the week that, for procrastinating students, that future deadline comes crashing into the present.

For students, for many faculty, and for innocent bystander librarians, this can be a very stressful week. So I took a (very unscientific) poll of library workers and students who were in the library. And here are some tips from them to manage the stress:

  • Be confident. After all, you’ve already survived 90% of the semester. You’ve succeeded this far; chances are you’re going to succeed for the next two weeks.
  • Get enough sleep. Being tired leads to more stress.
  • Watch a funny show or movie. Just a thirty-minute break watching “The Big Bang Theory” can relax you and get you ready for more studying.
  • Write out a list of what has to be done. That way, you’re not trying to hold it all in your mind, which is stressful. Plus, it feels good to check things off.
  • Don’ t try to survive on soda and snacks. Get some good, nutritious meals, which make you feel better.
  • Exercise. A short run or a bout of yoga can go a long way in relieving stress.
  • Go online and watch something funny on YouTube.
  • Talk to a friend.

All of these should be temporary, of course. Spending three hours surfing the web instead of studying will not help you. But giving yourself even a few minutes to relax and recharge can make  a real difference during this period.

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