Battling Stress: College Students and Finals

It’s December and most students are looking for a lovely Christmas vacation.  However, they have to overcome finals- that period where students feel and even look like they have been hit by a truck.

During this period, many students feel anxiety over final examinations.  Evans Dure, a chemistry student at Howard University says, “big projects are most challenging, but final exams, that’s a different animal.”

Feelings of stress on campus, especially during finals, are inevitable.  According to Mildred Goldstone, a licensed psychologist and doctor in Washington, D.C., “stress is a dysfunction of the mind, body, and spirit.”

Studies suggest that stress has a negative impact on the immune system and nervous system and when prolonged, leads to illness overtime.  However, stress can be controlled.

Much of the stress students experience during exams can be avoided with adequate preparation.  Goldstone says though it is impossible to be absolutely stress free, there are ways to control stress during finals.

“Planning time wisely is an effective way to reduce stress,” she said.  “Throughout the semester, one should make a conscious effort to keep up with all of their lectures and assignments.”

Eighteen-year-old Hampton University sophomore, Nnenna Obioha agrees that poor time management is a main contributor to student stress.

“It’s hard to cope because I work a lot.  But I try to study early so I don’t overwork myself,” she said.

Stress causes a range of physical and emotional changes that vary depending on the person.  Some students experience an irrational appetite while others seek comfort in eating or drinking.  Onyima Bowers, a biology student at Morehouse University depends on caffeine and sugar to study.  “I drink a lot of coffee and eat skittles to stay up all night,” he says.

A common reason for feeling stressed is finding out that you have too much to do and too little time to do it.  Learn to manage your time better, prioritize, and delegate where you can.  It also helps to relax when you feel stressed by listening to music, lying down, or breathing.  Another way to combat stress is with nutrition and exercise.

Adeolu Adeluyi, a senior at Clark Atlanta said he has “been in the gym working out everyday this past week.”

Walking, jogging or aerobics are some good stress reducers.  To reduce stress eat a well-balanced meal and avoid stimulants like caffeine and nicotine, which can disrupt a much needed restful night sleep required before an exam.  Sugary foods are also a bad idea because they promote a feeling of fatigue.

The best thing in dealing with exams is knowing and accepting your limits.  Remember that your entire life does not depend on the outcome of the exams and it is not the end of the world if you do not get an ‘A’.