How to Deal With End of Semester Stress

With only two full weeks left of class, it’s definitely getting to that point in the semester where stress levels are through the roof. You’ve likely got multiple papers and projects you’re working on, and for some reason they’re all due on the exact same day. At least one of them is worth a third or more of your grade, and you still don’t understand exactly what’s going on in that class. It’s a pretty rough time for all of us. The stress can get overwhelming. Luckily, we’ve got some tips on how to deal with everything. Try some of them out, and maybe they’ll make your semester, or at least your day, a little better.

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Make a Schedule

You’ve got a lot going on. Papers, tests, projects, laundry, meetings, going to the gym, maybe even sleeping. It’s a lot to handle, and just thinking about everything you have to do can be overwhelming. To do lists are great, but sometimes they end up stressing you out more. Instead of just making a list, try making a schedule. Break up tasks and space them out. Schedule time for breaks, for meals, and for doing something to de-stress. Even if you don’t stick to it, the act of making a schedule can help your stress levels a lot. Realize that you do have time for everything. You just have to make it work.


Drink Water!

Coffee is great for keeping you awake, but don’t forget to drink water, too. You do not want to have to deal with dehydration and headaches on top of everything else. Not drinking enough water can even end up making you more stressed, because dehydration causes increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. We have plenty of those cool water bottle fillers around campus, so please use them. Your body will thank you.


Image via Anita Hart/Flickr

Leave Campus

Staying in the library or your room all day can make you feel cooped up and irritable. You can solve this problem by taking breaks, walking around outside, or leaving campus. Especially if you’re planning on staying in and studying all weekend, leaving campus can help a lot. Don’t feel trapped by the Agnes bubble. Leaving campus doesn’t have to mean going to a party, although that can certainly help your stress levels if you’re up for it. Leaving campus can be as simple as going to Starbucks with your friend to study. You won’t feel guilty about it because you’re still working, but that change of pace and scenery can help a lot. Don’t hesitate to go somewhere different when you’re stressed out.


Make a Playlist

Maybe it’s just me, but I always make playlists when I’m stressed. Music helps me in ways nothing else can. The right song can make a study session bearable or push you to finish that last chapter. Why not make a playlist out of all those right songs? Take a study break and pick out some of your favorites. Even if you’re not the type of person who studies with music on, listening to calming or motivational music during a break can give you the boost you need to get things done.


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Take a Nap

The end of the semester is likely to include a lot of late nights. Staying up late studying is pretty much unavoidable right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time here and there for sleep. Naps are perfect for de-stressing. And if those couches on the ground floor of the library are calling your name, then you probably need one. The way to get the most out of nap is to set a timer for 30 or 45 minutes and not feel bad about it. Yes, you have a lot to do, but you can spare less than an hour for some much-needed rest.


Find a Dog to Pet

Animals are scientifically proven to lower stress levels. Just thinking of hugging a fluffy dog or cat can make you feel a little better. If you don’t have a friend with a dog or cat, just study outside for a while. It may be a little cold, but you’ll definitely see at least a couple people walking their dogs through campus. Most of them will let you pet their dogs if you just ask!

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Take a Minute to Just Breathe

The most important thing to do when you’re stressed is to breathe. When you get overwhelmed and feel like you won’t be able to get everything done, you’ve got to breathe. Close your eyes. Breathe in for four seconds. Breathe out for eight seconds. Repeat. Exhaling for longer than you inhale is important because it keeps you from keeping too much carbon dioxide in your lungs, which can stress you out. Taking deep breaths naturally calms you down, making it especially important during these final weeks of the semester. So when you get extra stressed in the coming weeks, don’t forget to breathe.


I hope these tips were helpful for anyone who needed them! Just remember, once you make it through the next couple weeks, you get a whole month of break. Hang in there. You can do this.