Need a study break from finals? Here’s what’s going on around campus


(Photo: Jessie Gronke/The Simpsonian)

by Emily Parker, Special to The Simpsonian

Simpson College provides students with many ways to relieve stress during dead week and finals week, ranging from campuswide traditions to customized floor programs.

The programs designed to provide support and stress relief can prove especially beneficial for freshmen taking final exams for the first time.

Campus organizations host annual events to provide students with study breaks. The Campus Activities Board will host its second annual Casa and Chill event Tuesday.

The Religious Life Community will once again offer massages during dead week.

College Reading Day, scheduled for Dec. 12, allows students to spend a full day preparing for finals without the distraction of classes.

Kayley Zimmerman, a member of the first-year Residence Life staff, said community advisers plan programs for their residents, as well as programs that are offered to the entire first-year area.

CAs plan programs that meet the needs of their residents based on times and activities that have proven successful throughout the semester. In the past, programs aimed at relieving stress have included games, crafts and balloon popping.

“We learned that taking short breaks while studying can actually help your brain process information, (and) these programs are a great way to help that process,” Zimmerman said. “The Residence Life staff really enjoys providing stress relief programs to help their residents be successful. Sometimes the best way to combat stress is by giving yourself a break.”

Chicago native Nicole Ward, like other students from out of state, said she appreciates activities aimed at keeping students engaged on campus.

“I think programs are a good idea because they offer a way for people to get out of their room or the library and give them a break from studying,” Ward said. “Also, people won’t need to think of activities to do but rather have the programs set up for them. It’s less to think about, especially during finals.”

Between floor programs and events put on by campus organizations, not to mention studying, students will have many options competing for their attention during dead week and finals week.

One resource to combat stress – and can be taken advantage of year-round – is the counseling services office on campus.

Counselor Katy Griner recommends that students prioritize their health during these busy weeks by eating healthy, taking study breaks and following a consistent sleep schedule.

“Too much stress has negative effects on several areas of our functioning,” Griner said. “When we are overstressed, we can get sick, it can lead to a lack of sleep, or too much sleep in avoidance of stress, unhealthy nutritional habits, difficulty focusing (and) lack of motivation.”

She said fewer students make appointments during finals week, as their time is spent studying for and taking exams, but it is still important for students to manage their stress.

If you would like to make an appointment with the counseling office, email [email protected] or call 515-961-1332. To learn more about the counseling office, visit

Finals will be held Dec. 13-15, marking the end of the fall semester.