On-campus support available to cope with finals stress

by Stacey MagnesonStaff Writer

Ever feel overwhelmed preparing for finals and just wish you could take a break? If so, Balance Life, part of Simpson’s Wellness Department, has come up with stress reliever activities for students to participate in during dead week.

On Dec. 4, there will be chair massages in the BSC from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Dec. 5, there will be Christmas cookie decorating and drunk/drugged driving and safe travel information from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in BSC. To finish up the week, a session called “Mindfulness and Meditation” will be presented. The program will take place at 7 p.m. in the Barker classroom on Dec. 6 and will help students learn to review information in a relaxed state.

“Students need to make sure to have some fun while taking a break from studying,” Rita Audlehelm, director of health services said. “When studying, students should take a break to exercise–take a walk, ride a bike, lift weights or any kind of physical activity. Research shows people do better on tests when they have physical activity involved.”

Audlehelm also suggests students should get at least eight hours of sleep per night, need to eat right and make sure they stay hydrated.

Audlehelm added that sleep deprivation is one of the biggest issues for young adults. She also said that carbohydrates are not only good for endurance athletes but are the best source of brain food.

April Goers, director of Student Support Services, also agrees that taking self breaks to lower stress management is important and gives a person regrouping time to rejuvenate the brain.

Rachel Bandy, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice, agrees that taking care of yourself is important and getting ample amounts of sleep is important because your brain can’t give a peak performance if you haven’t given the rest and nutrition you need.

Goers also advises students to meet with their professors to make sure they are in line with the expectations of the test, paper or presentation. She also encourages students to seek out help from resources on campus like student support services, Hawley Academic Resource Center and the mental health counseling office.

“Finals are the time where students get in the wrong mental state and need to focus on doing the best they can in their courses and celebrate small achievements,” Goers said. “Students need to utilize the pairs they’ve made in class by studying with a partner or in groups.”

Audlehelm agrees that group support is important and recommends reading over notes every night so one can commit the information to memory.

Audlehelm thinks students need to know their own studying style and what works best for them. Cramming may work for some but overall, isn’t successful.

When it comes to sitting down to study or write a paper, there are many ways to go about it. Bandy suggests not waiting until the last minute to study and prioritizing what exams, final papers and other assignments are due and to manage time accordingly.

“Don’t wait until the last minute to study,” Bandy said. “You need to find a studying ‘system’ that works for you. Ask your professors for help. As professors, we want to see our students do well in our classes, but we don’t know you need help or further explanations if you don’t ask.

Bandy offers some advice on tackling stress before finals.

“Try not to focus on the volume of work ahead of you,” Bandy said. “Instead, focus on one task at a time to give your best effort and then move on to the next task.”