Faculty discuss avoiding stress during finals

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Lauren Saner / Winonan

The end of the semester is the one time when everyone on campus has the same feeling; stress. Kelly Kirby, a counselor in Winona State University’s wellness and counseling services in the Integrated Wellness Center, and Robin Saner, a professor in Winona State’s graduate counseling program, shared some of the best ways to deal with stress.

First, students have to be able to find a balance. At the end of the semester, there is an endless number of things students need to get done. Kirby gives insight into how students can balance their time so they can be productive while also getting time to calm down and relax.

“Finding balance is key to managing stress, even when you feel you don’t have time. Take small breaks and reward yourself after you’ve accomplished things, not before. Stay away from Netflix unless it is one of the small breaks,” Kirby said.

Next, students must remember to take care of themselves. As growing adults, students tend to struggle with properly nourishing their bodies on a normal basis, and unfortunately, finals are a time when they do not really care what they put into their bodies, or about much else for that matter. This is the ideal time to ensure that their bodies do not fail them, while students try to not fail their tests.

“Stress affects you both physically and emotionally, thus you can manage some of the emotional aspects by taking care of yourself physically: get sleep, eat healthy meals and drink plenty of water. Drink caffeine in moderation, and avoid things like alcohol that can effect your body in negative ways,” Saner said.

Also, students should remember the importance of staying positive.

“Positive stress management is about maintaining a perspective on things. Focus on what it will feel like when you are done with everything and how good and relieved you will feel,” Kirby said.

Another helpful tip for students is to make lists of what they need to do. Students should keep track of their assignments and projects that are due and when tests are coming up. They should set up what needs to get done and put it in the order of when it is due.

“Do the thing you’re dreading the most first, so that it’s done and not hanging over your head anymore,” Kirby suggests.

Students should also recognize that college is just a small portion of their life, and a few bad test scores and assignments do not matter in the long run.

“Know that this is a temporary state, things will get better, and you are resilient and capable,” Saner said.

It is also important for students to remember why they originally enrolled in college and how they want to continue their personal and educational journey.

“Remind yourself why you are in college. What is your bigger goal? That’s why this paper, project, or test matters,” Kirby said.

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