It’s that time of year where students overcrowd the library, spend all their money on caffeinated drinks, and wear sweatpants everywhere. It’s the end of the semester and everyone’s stressed.
“Why am I stressed?” asked senior English education major Kristin Miller, “because my professors don’t seem to think I should have a life outside of school.”
This is a common problem among many students in the last few weeks of the semester. Junior communication major Monica Lenius echoed the sentiment.
“I’m stressed because my professors piled on homework all at the same time,” Lenius said.
School, however, is just one stress factor for students.
“When I’m not stressing about school, I’m panicking about how to pay the rent,” Miller said.
Students have figured out many ways to cope with stress through their years at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point.
“I go for jogs,” Lenius said. “It gets rid of a lot of nervous energy that I usually build up when I’m stressed.”
Stress is the body’s response to a perceived threat to our physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being. Without those perceived threats we create, situations aren’t recognized as stressful, so it’s important to keep a positive attitude in order to minimize the amount of negative stress in our lives.
Easier said than done, right? After a long day of exams, homework you can’t make sense of, and roommates getting on your last nerve, it seems impossible to stay optimistic knowing it will just start all over and repeat again tomorrow.
Some students find it helpful to watch movies or television with happy characters to raise their spirits.
“I have been obsessively watching TLC wedding… It’s nice to know that someone else out there is happy,” Miller said.
For freshmen, this is their first experience with finals week and many do not have strategies built up for how to survive this time of year.
Besides the typical techniques of coping with stress such as attending yoga classes, going for jogs, and deep breathing, there are also more practical techniques that fit into our busy, college schedules.
Fine-tune expectations. Negativity and always expecting the worse will most often get less than the best. What you expect often comes to you.
Get rid of irrational beliefs. You don’t need to have complete support of every person you pass throughout a day to validate your self-worth. Acknowledge your hard work and reward yourself when you have done your best, even if your grades don’t always match. A sense of serenity comes with self-acceptance and will benefit you during these seemingly never-ending days of stress.
Consciously create images of success, healing, or relaxation. Visualizing positive scenarios repairs the body and rids our brain from its pessimistic outlook during a stressful week. Repeated exposure to a setting that is happy, peaceful, and calm provides a profound sense of relaxation.
“I would suggest getting plenty of sleep and getting a comfy pair of sweatpants,” Miller said. “I would also suggest this website: http://written kitten.net/ because there is no greater motivator than pictures of kittens.”
When it comes down to it, what helps you manage your stress depends on what fits your lifestyle and your personality. Just because your friends go to yoga doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you, too.
Amongst the chaos of school, finances, and everything else that is causing stress in your life, remember, this too shall pass.