Students reflect on relieving finals stress


Brynn Artley

Senior math education major Kimberley Lee shared how she manages stress during final exams time: “Usually if I need to really concentrate, I study by myself, listen to music, allow myself to take naps–like probably 10 minutes, nothing further than that. I also like to go exercise sometimes, especially if it’s very stressful, or even just [give] myself a break [and go] talk with friends. It’s just releasing it in a way where it’s healthy [and] where I’m not studying straight on because I don’t think that’s healthy.”

Brynn Artley, Features Reporter

Final exams bring stress between attempting to balance work and personal lives with an increased scholastic work load. This can be a challenge, and maintaining healthy stress levels and practicing self-care is especially important, said Benedict Ezeoke, director of counseling and wellness services at Winona State University.

“You may be that engulfed in completing all of this without knowing that you’re going down,” Ezeoke said.  “Our body cries, and sometimes

if you don’t have the ear, you continue on until breakdown.”

Finding ways to maintain basic good living is key, Ezeoke said. 

“Students need to try feeling well, exercising well, having free time and doing things they are supposed to do at the right [time], not allowing their work to compile. Being a good student is one perfect suggestion I would give,” Ezeoke said.

Several students independently agreed with this idea and shared how they cope with stress.

Senior athletic training major Zach Harbaugh said that making priorities is important for him.

“We’re trying to balance projects, and then we do 20 hours of clinicals a week on top of school and studying and then personal lives and work, so I think for me [it’s] just getting into a rhythm where you prioritize what you need to get done and just focus on that,” Harbaugh said.

Being aware of personal study habits is also important, senior biology major Eric William said.

“Find out what works best for you. If you’re procrastinating in high school, that could transfer over to college. Try to find that out before finals so you’re not stuck,” William said.

Senior social work major Tejay Garjaye advised students to take final exams seriously.

“For the ones who like to party, this is not the time. You don’t want to get in a bad situation where you’ll get on an academic probation and say, ‘Oh, I’ll get my grades up next semester.’ No, it doesn’t work that way. Trust me. I personally went through this, so I’m speaking from experience. Don’t wait and don’t play around because it’s not going to be in your favor,” Garjaye said.

Effectively utilizing on-campus resources is also important, Ezeoke said.

“‘Uni’ means one and ‘versity’ means many. Many and one. A kind of ‘micro-world.’ University is a ‘micro-world.’ So utilize it, utilize the infrastructures, use the professors, use the classroom, use the library, use your peers We are here to support,” Ezeoke said.

However, as important as studying for final exams is, finding time to relax and release tension is equally important, Ezeoke said.

“No matter how busy [you are], you have to give yourself that space to relax,” Ezeoke said.

First-year nursing major Maria Loerq shared how she relieved stress during high school final exams.

“I would forget about school and just be with friends and hang out with them, eat, do something fun, watch a movie, or just try to forget about the situation. And then the next day go into it and conquer it,” Loerq said.

First-year nursing major Samantha Martins said that exercise was important for relieving her stress.

“When I was in high school, I was in dance and so for dance practice, I would just put my all into it to relieve that stress,” Martins said.

Senior political science and public administration major Elijah Norris-Hollida said that being physically healthy is also a priority for him during final exams week.

“For me, it’s just focusing on what you put into your body finals week. I don’t sleep a lot during the semester, but I put an emphasis on getting a good quality of sleep the week before finals and  during finals week. Prioritizing sleep and trying to eat healthy and drink a lot of water definitely helps with my stress levels,” Norris-Hollida said.

In the end, as senior Harbaugh said, final exams are likely not going to make or break you.

“Just make sure you understand it’s important to your class. Some classes will weigh it as 25 percent of your grade. Other classes, it’s just a normal test,” Harbaugh said. “I would just make sure you understand the expectations going in, but at the end of the day, it’s just another test.”