Mental Health and Finals

Welcome to finals week, it’s the most wonderful time of the year (said no one ever). That special time of the year where you find students “camping” out at Cabell library cramming for their four finals, two papers and three presentations. That wonderful time when we college students get absolutely no sleep and are barely functioning on four cups of coffee. Is this really the ideal situation we’re looking for? 

It seems as if we’re starting to feed into the overworked, sleepless and coffee-lover aesthetic. People are beginning to normalize this idea of being burnt out, especially in times like these, when everyone we know is feeling the exact same stresses. Although it is very important for us to do our best on our finals, work should never, and I repeat never, take importance over your mental health.

Now it’s only natural for you to feel stressed and overwhelmed about all your finals coming up, but you should never put taking care of yourself on the back burner. In fact, students have gone to such extreme levels to make sure that they are being efficient with their studying. For example, a study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 34% of college students use ADHD medication, such as Adderall, illegally in order to be more attentive while studying. Not only is this a problem because it is an illegal misuse of medication, but it is also putting the health of the student in danger.

Our society puts so much significance on final exams so it seems to take precedence over any other aspects of our lives. Now, I’m not saying that finals aren't important, because of course, they are, but the fact that society dictates that mental health should take a backseat during this time is a mistake that has been contributed to by not only the higher education system but students as well. Students should never feel that their exams are more important than their mental or physical health. 

So what does this mean? First off, you should definitely not be pulling all-nighters. You need sleep, and losing sleep during finals week will cause you to be less attentive during your exam rather than allowing you to retain information. Even if all you get are short power naps in between studying, those naps can definitely allow you to wake up and feel more energized and ready to take on whatever studying you have to do next.

Also, don’t forget to spend some time with friends in between finals. I know that it might be hard for you to find a time where you all are free to hang out and de-stress, but maintaining a healthy social life is just as important as maintaining your mental health. Whether it be going to Cabell to study together or going out to dinner to celebrate the end of the semester, de-stressing with your friends can help you get through the final weeks of the semester. 

So, never forget that your mental health is worth more than any grade. Grades are still important, but if you’ve reached a point where you think your test is more important than sleeping or eating, you know there’s a problem.


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