How to: survive finals week

On November 27, 2012

With two weeks of classes left, stress is building. Suddenly, every paper you thought you had all semester to write is due, you have four tests next week and there is just no time to do it all.

Sometimes students adapt one of the many unhealthy ways of coping with stress.

According to, many things people think will help them cope end up temporarily reducing stress but causing more damage in the long run. These poor stress reducers include smoking, excessive drinking, overeating, undereating, withdrawing from friends, oversleeping, lashing out and scheduling every second of your time.

Instead of familiarizing yourself with one or more of these bad habits, there are many healthy ways to handle the explosion of anxiety that the end of the semester brings.

Organize your life

When I'm stressed out, the first thing I do is write a to-do list. Then I organize that list into a calendar and prioritize which assignments need to be done in what order.

This way, everything you have to do is in front of you and there is a smaller chance you will forget about that reflection piece for that class you hate. By planning out when you will be able to get everything done, there is a higher chance you won't overwork or stress out.

Plus, the feeling of crossing something off your list is just about the best feeling in the world.

Eat right- eat foods that help you focus

It's 11 p.m. and french fries from Sizzles sound like a great idea. Maybe you know the feeling? I know I tend to overeat when I am stressed.

Instead of fried foods, Reader's Digest offers 11 healthy options that curb your hunger and help you relax: nuts, broccoli (a stress reliever), a small amount of sorbet (a little sugar decreases anxiety-producing hormones), a whole grain muffin (carbohydrates boost your mood), salmon (omega-3 helps brain cells), dark chocolate, milk (keeps blood pressure down), hot cocoa (warmth brings a feeling of comfort), black tea, green tea (increases output of relaxation hormones) and cold water (invigorates your blood).

These foods and drinks are great substitutes to those french fries that will taste amazing for a few moments but will eventually make you sluggish and lazy.


As Elle Woods so expertly stated, "exercise releases endorphins; endorphins make you happy." But really, exercise is an important aspect to relieving stress. I'm not telling you to go running on the bike path, lift weights or do anything excessive. If you simply go for a small walk or have a mini dance party to the newest One Direction single, you will experience the benefit of endorphins.


According to the Franklin Institute's Resources for Science Learning, sleep is an important part of preparing for exams. This is due to the connections made in your brain while you sleep. It's not only important to go to bed, but it's important to get at least eight hours of sleep in order to be recharged and ready for your exams.

"If you reviewed your notes thoroughly until you were tired and then slept, you'd achieve as much learning in the brain as if you'd pulled an all-nighter repeating your review of the material," said Michael P. Stryker, Ph.D., researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, in the institute's article, "The Human Brain."

If you are still unsure about preparing for finals, head to the Wellness Center in the Student Union for a free massage or attend one of its workshops about test taking or organization.



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