As the semester comes to a close, students feel rushed to finish last minute assignments, take on new spontaneous work, power through finals – projects, presentations, essays and labs – and study for upcoming exams.
“Sometimes I just pull an all-nighter and get it all done in one night, if I can,” senior Joshua Fan said, “but sometimes … I procrastinate even when I’m putting in all that effort and it ends up being worse.”
Finals aren’t the only things students stress about at this time of year. According to Fan, trying to juggle college application essays and other school activities makes getting through December, and other parts of the semester, difficult.
“I think college [applications are] definitely … something that took … a big chunk of time, which is why … I have a lot to do this semester and also [my] orchestra concert that’s going on right now also takes a lot of time,” Fan said. “I feel like in a semester, [there’s] just like a lot going on, not really finals, but a lot more than finals that’s going on.”
On top of college applications, senior Marlee Hodges is focused on scholarship deadlines and a last minute ACT exam.
“I’m stressed about the ACT, I’m taking it [on Dec. 11] actually,” Hodges said. “It’s my last one, but I do want scholarships and I already qualified for a couple but my dad’s always like ‘you can do better.’”
For senior Kealyn Lhuillier, college level classes are the source of most of her stress during finals.
“My sociology final is definitely causing me stress,” Lhuillier said. “It is one of my first college classes and I’m just worried about how it’s going to go.”
One way to cope with the pressure finals evoke is to seek emotional support from pets.
“I manage my stress by cuddling with my dog and [that’s] pretty much … my only coping mechanism right now,” Lhuillier said.
If a pet isn’t available, a mantra can help one persevere through their stress.
“My mom always says this: Just take [it] one day at a time. Deep breaths. You can’t control everything. Control what you can control. Work as hard as you can,” Hodges said. “As long as you give it your best, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is … Talk through it with people. Don’t isolate [yourself].”
Students can also improve tension by taking care of their mental health and sleeping regularly.
“My main stress managing tip is to make sure you have enough sleep,” Lhuillier said, “because you’re not going to have rational thoughts if you don’t have enough sleep and to just take it moment by moment, and to give yourself a break, even when no one else is.”
When preparing to tackle all the assignments that pile up and studying for finals, Hodges recommends writing all tasks down and prioritizing the most due items.
“I’ll make a list of what I [need] to do and then I’ll delete the stuff that [I don’t need] to worry about until later,” Hodges said. “Sometimes I’ll make a list and put it as my lockscreen and I kind of … cross it off and look at it throughout the day.”
At the end of the day, the important thing to remember is a grade doesn’t define a student.
“It sometimes seems like the world is ending, but it’s not,” Hodges said. “So just try your best and work your hardest and it’s all going to turn out okay