How to cut down on stress before finals

Amy McNeel

Finals week is fast approaching, along with hours of studying and stress. It seems like the week before finals should be left for studying, but most of us don’t get that pleasure. Not only do we have final exams to study for, but we also have essays to write, projects to complete and chapter tests to take. To say the least, the week prior to finals is difficult. With this huge workload, it’s no wonder students are so stressed out during this time of the semester. 

Personally, I find the week prior to finals to be the most stressful week of the semester. During this time, it can be easy to hole away in your room and let schoolwork and stress take over. However, stress only makes studying and preparing for exams worse and even more tedious. During the week prior to exams, it’s important to step away from the hustle and bustle, and take some time for yourself. 

While using every second of the day to study may seem appropriate prior to finals, it can actually make studying and retaining information more difficult. Overstudying can cause mental exhaustion. According to the Baylor University Office of Academic Support, “Lack of sleep plus stress causes your body to produce a chemical that actually blocks information retrieval.” When you’re cramming information and studying too much, it’s easy to hit walls and lose your motivation. To get ready for exams, you should dedicate some time to relaxing mentally and physically, as well as eating well, sleeping and exercising to make sure your brain is in tip-top shape for taking exams and writing essays. Providing yourself with free time can actually have a positive impact on your education. 

With papers to write, projects to complete and exams to study for, you may find that relaxation is pretty low on your priority list. While this is more than understandable, letting school and stress take over can ultimately hinder your motivation and success. To put it simply, overstudying can negatively affect mental, physical and emotional health. To get the most out of your studying, while also keeping your mental state at ease, you should plan to balance your time as best as you can. While it’s important to study, it’s also important to relax and socialize. 

Over the next week, try not to get too caught up in the stressors of finals. When you’re planning out your study sessions, make sure to include study breaks and stress relievers. Stress relievers are different for everyone, so plan on doing some things you personally enjoy, whether that’s socializing, shopping, reading, watching TV or going to the gym. The important thing is to stay active the week before finals. While we all want to get good grades, we also need to take care of ourselves, and ultimately, self-care can improve our studying and help us succeed. This week, don’t hide away in your room. Instead, get your work done while also enjoying your last week of classes at GVSU this semester.