Classic Signals: Students learn how to de-stress before finals

By Viktoria Ristanovic
Features Editor

As finals and flu season approach us, it’s important for students to remember how to relax their minds and bodies in order to avoid getting stressed and sick. Yes, finals season is the worst, but it’s important to allow yourself to release some stress and enjoy the little things, such as grabbing coffee with a friend, laughing about how much you have to do and blowing off some steam at the gym with a friend. 

The end of the semester can give an individual stress (Photo courtesy of TCNJ Digital Archives).

In a December 2011 issue of The Signal, a reporter wrote about how students are taught how to combat pre-exam stress and, in turn, avoid getting sick during this stressful time in our lives. 

Sniffles and sore throats aren’t the only things currently circulating campus.

While the common cold spreads rapidly when people are packed together, there’s an equally contagious issue afflicting the student body — otherwise known as end-of-the-semester stress.

Over the past week I’ve noticed that almost everyone is on edge as they attempt to juggle numerous assignments.

Last weekend, though, I realized that while it may seem like every exam is of utmost importance, it’s also necessary to put things into perspective. Thinking of the big picture can really help ease assignment-related anxiety.

In the bookstore, I ran into several alumni who visited campus and decided to pick up some school-spirit gear.

Then, on Sunday, I encountered a slew of former students at a Signal staff reunion.

Approximately 30 alums reunited to talk about where they are now, while offering advice to current students reflecting on their college experiences. None of them said, “Oh, wow. I’m so mad about that time I got a B- on my bio exam.”

If anything, the recurring regret I’ve heard from graduates is: “I wish I enjoyed myself more.”

Five years from now — and probably even in five months — chances are you won’t remember the grades you got on the majority of the assignments you’re stressing over now.

Thinking long-term can make you realize that you will survive college, and one exam is not the end of the world.

I’m not trying to downplay the importance of grades — they do matter, of course. I just think people’s sanity ranks superior in the big scheme of things. Try your best, but don’t beat yourself up over it.

When worrying about how I would do in one of my classes, and practically panicking at the thought of getting below a B, a friend shared some rhyming advice: “C’s get degrees.”

As bad as it sounds, she had a point.

Not doing your best in one class really isn’t the end of the world, especially if it’s because you’re focusing on things that you’re more passionate about. Spending a little extra time on a great project for your major or a subject you really enjoy is sometimes more important, and definitely makes more sense than spending that same time cramming for a test in a required class in a random subject.

While you should study as much as you can, you also shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. I’m not condoning failing your finals, but here are some suggestions if you’re feeling overwhelmed:

1. Elle Woods once said, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” Though I hope none of you are homicidal, “Legally Blonde” had a point — hitting the gym or going for a jog around the loop can really clear your head.

2. Take a study break to catch up with friends. Everyone’s so focused on their own work that time with friends takes the backburner. Venting and laughing can do wonders.

3. Get in the holiday spirit. I’ve heard so many people say, “It doesn’t feel like Christmastime.” Believe it or not, the holidays are only a few weeks away. Why not take the opportunity to do some shopping or decorate your dorm room?

4. Add “make a to-do list” to your to-do list. Knowing what you have to do can help you stay on track and increase your odds of actually accomplishing tasks.

5. While you may turn to energy drinks, or something slightly stronger, to ease exam anxiety, I’ve found another beneficial beverage: chocolate milk. Unless you’re lactose intolerant, this elementary school throwback always manages to make me happy. Plus, some extra calcium in your system can’t hurt.

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