Opinion: Easing the Burden of Finals, if That’s Even Possible

Sophomores and friends of the author, Cal Stearns from Midland, Logan Bride from Waterford and Ben Schollett from Traverse City sit at a table doing various things, preparing for finals. Toward the end of the semester, students experience heightened stress with finals approaching (Photo illustration by Aidan Shapiro).

Finals can be a very stressful time for all college students, but there are a few ways to avoid getting too stressed or burnt out. With the last few weeks of the semester in full swing, it’s time to hunker down and get to work. But, how does someone avoid stress and burnout at such an intense time as this? While it’s impossible to completely remove stress from one’s life, there are a few things you can do to help relieve some of the stress that might be weighing you down. 

For me, finals are a pretty stressful time no matter how my classes turn out. I am usually pretty worn out by the time finals roll around, but am able to power through. By the end of the semester I’m usually just ready to move on to the next thing.

What To Do Before Finals Week

This may seem obvious, but having a bunch of old assignments to turn in while you’re receiving study guides or final projects is a great way to be super stressed at the end of the semester. On top of that it makes you look worse to your professor, something none of us want to do.

This may also seem like an easy one, but going to class is crucial to doing well. You should be going to class as much as possible throughout the semester, but especially towards the last few weeks before break, when you need to hear about a final exam or project. Like I said, though, going to class is the most crucial part of success in college, so please go.

Keeping a regular sleep schedule is something that may also seem obvious, but many college students do not keep one. A 2022 CDC study found that 60% of college students receive an insufficient amount of sleep each night. This isn’t all that surprising though, with many college students often having very rigorous schedules. Some may only have the chance to sleep for seven hours a night because that’s all they can get. Nonetheless, getting enough sleep at night is something that we should all try to do.

Keeping either a physical calendar, a Google calendar or one on your phone is also a great way to avoid feeling overwhelmed throughout the semester. This is something that you can do all semester to keep track of assignments and projects, but can also be a good way to get ahead on exams and other important tests. Like I said before, keeping up with your work throughout the semester will prepare you for the final sprint to the end.

What To Do While Studying

Though listening to music while studying may not be the best idea for everyone, during downtime, music can relieve stress. Listening to quiet music before bed or just throughout the day can help relax you and keep you ready for whatever you have to do next. If you can handle studying while listening to music, Spotify has a multitude of playlists for getting homework done.

Another tip I have to get you closer to your ideal productivity is to take a walk or get some other exercise. Studies show that getting exercise is good for your mental health, so maybe head to the Dow and run on the treadmill for a few minutes before studying one night. With regular exercise, you may not feel as stressed throughout the semester because your body is releasing endorphins and serotonin to keep your thoughts positive. Going for walks is something that I personally do quite often. I throw some headphones on, layer up for the weather and take a lap or two around campus. 

Taking breaks while studying may seem counterintuitive, but according to Cornell University, taking anywhere from a five-minute break to an hour break can help relieve stress and keep the brain active. During your break, you can do just about anything, from taking a nap to playing a game of Fortnite. In fact, I had to drag my friends away from a Fortnite session in order to take the photo for this story. Also, every time you die in Fortnite, you can go back to studying for a little longer.

The Gist

The most stressful time of the year may not have to be so stressful this year. Whether you use one or all of these tips, I highly recommend checking these out for yourself and seeing if they help you. When it comes to finals, everyone takes a different approach. Some take it methodically and are prepared, and others just go with the flow and figure it out.

About Aidan Shapiro 8 Articles
Aidan Shapiro is a sophomore from Clawson, MI and an English major at Albion College. He is mainly focused on, but not limited to writing about sports. He writes as a way to express what he is passionate about. He also plays on the lacrosse team here at Albion He can be reached at AJS26@albion.edu.

1 Comment

  1. Excellent advice for students. As a professor, I can confirm that there is a strong correlation between class attendance and class performance.

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