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Control your stress: Finals Edition


It’s that time of the college-school year when the weight of finals looms over all of us like a smelly fart that just won’t dissipate. The atmosphere becomes overwhelming, it’s hard to breath, and you just can’t get enough fresh air. The key is to not panic when someone lets one rip. Instead, calmly call them out to embarrass them (because that’s always fun), open a window and let the smell out. (If you aren’t following along with this awful, drawn-out metaphor, the smell is a symbol for stress.)

If you’re trying to get away from the smell, opening a window can do the job. Although, when someone has eaten Taco Bell and you’re stuck in a car with them, opening a window isn’t always enough to clear the air. Similarly, around exam time stress levels sky-rocket and clearing your head is harder than normal. Some lucky people naturally don’t stress too much. But for a large portion of college students, going for a walk is not enough to control the worry.

The smell the spring rain brings is extremely cleansing but it does not guarantee that you won’t be nervous taking your anatomy final. I’m won’t say you should be entirely stress-free because managed stress is healthy;so here are a few stress relievers so you don’t pull your hair out.

Get Your Workout On

Exercise releases endorphins in your brain and gives you an adrenaline rush. It’s a natural stress reliever. Physical activity circulates more blood to your brain to increase brain activity. Taking an hour for a visit to the gym, running outside, or simply going for a walk is worth it when the stress piles on. Pounding out a mile or two refreshes you. Studying so much keeps your mind active and achieving a balance by keeping your body active prevents you from getting over worked. If you don’t favor running or any generic cardio exercise, learning a dance from YouTube video is always fun and will help relieve stress.

Escape Into a Different World

If you’re a reader like me, having a ton of homework puts an unavoidable strain on your book life (if you want good grades, that is). Because exams are coming up, it’s harder to find the time to get lost in a book and live vicariously through my favorite fictional characters. Letting your mind thrive in a different world is a wonderful escape from reading your anatomy book or writing that five-page research paper. Make sure you finish the paper of course, but you don’t have to hate life doing it.

Another way to escape into a different world with dragons and no online quizzes is to make up your own world. Write a short story or a poem, (maybe not a novel, we do have exams) and get lost in your imagination. You can simply sit at your computer or notebook and write everything that comes to mind. It’s very effective if you have a lot on your mind. The beauty of writing your own story is deciding everything that happens. Create a world without exams, write about your plans for summer, make a bucket list, or a People-I-Would-do-the-Nasty-with list. Anything. No one can tell you your imagination is wrong.

No to reading and writing? Then you want Netflix. Just be careful you don’t end up watching every single episode of The Walking Dead in one sitting and not studying at all.

Go Squirrel Watching

Have you ever looked out a window in a daydream and watched a squirrel run around a tree? It’s a lot of fun and very distracting sometimes. Squirrels are one of the coolest animals ever and they’re so cute when they just sit on a branch and eat their food. Nature is always relaxing and taking a few minute to enjoy it makes you feel serene. Climb a tree or feed some squirrels. Since the weather is warming up, you can easily enjoy fresh air by studying outside.

Share Your Stress

Get all your stressed friends in one room, sit in a circle, and just complain. Complain about how one of your teachers isn’t a fair grader, you missed one assignment and you’re worried about your grade, and about how much you hate math. Voicing your stress in an environment that won’t pass judgment will take a huge weight off your chest. You can share your concerns with people who have the same worries. Know that you’re not alone.

Sleepy Time

Sleep is a crucial aspect during finals, although it’s normally traded in for coffee, energy drinks, and all-nighters. There’s a myth that the longer you stay up and study, the better you’ll do on your exams. While this technique might work for some people, in reality it’s dangerous and not very effective. You might be able to stay up for over 24 hours straight, but when you force your body to stay awake for too long, your brain stops retaining information. Getting a full eight hours of sleep before an exam is the best way for your brain to prepare.

Don’t Study Solo

It’s lonely when you’re at the library at a huge table by yourself. Grab yourself a study buddy and get down to business to defeat the exams. Pick someone who is the same level of seriousness so you won’t distract each other. Study for an hour and then be silly for fifteen minutes, laughing at funny cat YouTube videos. You can quiz each other and push each other to do better.

Utilize these tips, stress less, and good luck on your exams! 

Hannah is a Journalism and Creative Writing major at Western Michigan University. She has an enormous love for book/TV series like Game of Thrones, Teen Wolf, True Blood, Supernatural, Doctor Who, etc. She writes for two school newspapers, The Western Herald and The White Goat. She's very active, works out a lot, and is in the Theatre for Community Health at WMU. She plans to work for the entertainment industry as a journalist and live in L.A. hannah.r.ball@wmich.edu https://twitter.com/HannahRubyisms
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