Coping With Stress (During Finals Week)

By Emily Murphy, Hope Doyen & Ashley Harrison

Finals week can provide ample amounts of stress for those in college, and it can be hard to find ways to manage that stress during a time when students are taking/studying for multiple exams. At the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (UWGB), students are preparing to face their finals week at the end of the fall semester, and not everyone knows what steps they can take to keep their stress levels low.

UWGB provides students access to free therapy sessions at the Wellness Center, where students can talk about their concerns and stresses. What students could benefit from is being able to see posters and flyers around campus that give them tips and suggestions about what they can do during this time.

UWGB provides events, such as Late Night Breakfast, that students can engage in during finals week to help take the stress off, but because finals week can be so demanding, not every student can fully enjoy these events when their finals are still going on.

While some stress is necessary, too much stress can be a bad thing. Stress can show up in many forms. According to The Jed Foundation, symptoms can include insomnia, inability to motivate, depression, mood swings, and more physical symptoms such as hair loss, nail-biting, and weight loss. If students are experiencing these symptoms, it may be a sign that it is getting to be too much stress and that they are not managing it effectively.

Allison Misialek, a junior at UWGB, currently has 5 final exams to prepare for, and she admits she is very stressed and not sure how she is going to manage it. Misialek comments on how nice it would be to have posters for students that show steps she could take to help her manage not only her time but stress during this time. Misialek also mentions that not everyone knows about the free therapy sessions students can receive, so more posters around campus would be helpful.

According to Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges, Chair and Professor of Psychology, physical effects on the body from stress can include headaches, muscle tension and pain, chest pain, fatigue, upset stomach, sleep problems, and more. Emotional effects of stress include anxiety, restlessness, depression, lack of motivation or focus, feeling overwhelmed, and irritability. Some ways to help deal with the stress are making sure you are getting enough sleep, engaging in physical activity, doing things that make you happy, going out in nature, and talking to someone. With finals week coming up, she says, “Yes, this is a stressful time for everyone working in education. The end of the semester coupled with the holidays makes the fall semester particularly challenging.”

UWGB Final Exam Schedule

UWGB students can take a few steps to help manage their stress. Be active, take a break from homework/studying and go for a walk or some form of physical activity. An exercise is a natural form of antidepressant. Don’t forget to eat! Make meals a priority to enable bodies and brains to be prepared to study and prep for finals. Organize the schedule and prioritize finals based on which comes first. Remember to take them one at a time. Finally, in case of still struggling, reach out to the Wellness Center at UWGB to contact 24/7 Crisis Consultation or set up counseling services for more assistance.

Finals time can be a very stressful time, but using the methods listed above can help cope with stress. Juggling school and work during finals week can be difficult, especially with improper scheduling to ensure you study for all exams. It is important to maintain a proper sleep schedule, eat healthy foods, drink water, and more in order to make sure you are maintaining your health.

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