Finals. … Uhhhh.
Sitting in my math class on Wednesday, May 30, I found myself in a discussion with sophomore John West, who’s been doing well at LBCC for two years now, about finals: how to prepare, how to survive, how to do well. He mentioned the importance of taking deep breaths, preparing, etc.
It is a stressful time for all students, regardless of their year in school, their grades, the classes they’re taking, everything. I decided to create a list of five things to remind yourself of as you make your way through week 10 and towards finals.
Deep breaths go a long way. Remember to take a step back from your studying, note-taking, and testing to take a couple deep breaths. Harvard Medical School is one among many sources that state that deep breathing really is beneficial: it oxygenates your brain, allowing you to calm down and think clearer.
Instructor Mark Weiss, retired counselor of 27 years at LBCC, teaches Psychology 101 and Destination Graduation and said “for short-term relief, nothing is better than taking 30 seconds and doing some slow, deep breathing. Breathing pumps oxygen into our system and restores our mental capacity.”
Before a stressful test, during the test, and after, stop for a few seconds and breathe. Do the same thing during your studying when things get overwhelming or when you go into overdrive from the avalanche of work.
2. Take Breaks
The stress of finals is enough to make you want to study until you can’t anymore, or spend a nice sunny afternoon sitting at the table with your eyes glued to your study guide. It’s okay to stop for awhile and give yourself a break before returning to your work.
The American Psychological Association states that studying is more effective when done in shorter spurts rather than spending a two-hour period cramming.
LBCC’s Center for Accessibility Resources (CFAR) said, “Pace yourself throughout the day, taking regular breaks from work or other structured activities. During breaks from class, studying, or work, spend time walking outdoors, listen to music or just sit quietly, to clear and calm your mind.”
LBCC counselor and advisor Cait Morgan also said to “take breaks — this will make your study time more effective.”
Every 45 minutes or so of working, take 10 to go outside for awhile, play with your pet, go for a short walk, get a snack, or do anything fun and relaxing.
3. Work Hard
You have one week left until you can enjoy all the fun in the sun that you wish. A week is not very long to give it your all and study, study, study. It is important to distance yourself from large distractions that might take you away from your task at hand: to take your finals, do amazing, and then move on to your summer.
CFAR said “putting off assignments or responsibilities until the last minute can create more mental and physical stress than staying on top of them.” Remind yourself of the importance of doing well on your finals, moving you towards whatever your goals are, and put the effort in.
4. Eat, Drink, Sleep
Another effect of the finals-stress-overdrive is to find yourself up at three in the morning either studying or laying awake too stressed out to sleep. The same goes for being too stressed to eat, thinking you don’t have the time, or simply forgetting.
Eight hours of sleep and three meals a day goes a long way. By sleeping, eating, and drinking you’re awarding your brain the necessary fuel and rest to get you through week 10 at your best performance.
Weiss said to “take care of your physical needs by getting enough sleep, doing some exercise, eating real food, and hydrating.” CFAR also recommended exercise and good sleep habits to help with stress.
5. “Don’t give up”… and Other Things to Tell Yourself
Stress can easily make a person think catastrophic thoughts or reach the point where they are so stressed they give up and become apathetic. CFAR recommended that students “recognize the role your own thoughts can play in causing you distress. Challenge beliefs you may hold about yourself and your situation that may not be accurate.”
To combat whatever catastrophic thoughts might race through your mind, here’s a list of things to tell yourself from Weiss and the Accessibility Office:
“Exams do not have nuclear power. No matter how well or poor I do, no one is going to die from it. It only feels like a life-and-death issue, but it really isn’t.” — Weiss
“Remember that you are worthy. You are deserving. Meditate on that.” — Weiss
“I can and I will. Watch me.” — CFAR
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” — Confucius (CFAR)
“You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” — CFAR
At a glance:
The advising office is in Takena Hall and is available for students to stop by and schedule an appointment from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. They can provide faculty to talk with that are skilled in giving advice and wellness assistance.
Specifically, the wellness counselor Lisa Hoogesteger is available by appointment if you call (541) 917-4780 or by stopping by the advising office in Takena Hall. She can be reached directly by emailing email@example.com.
Outside the CFAR office in Red Cedar Hall is a bulletin board put together filled with recommendations for stress management.