5 Tips to Mitigate Student Stress

Finals is the most difficult point of the semester, so how can you cope?


Ethan DeHoyos / Staff Photographer

Chris Lopez, A Glendale Community College freshmen is studying for his English exam coming up Thursday at Starbucks in Montrose, Calif. On Sunday Sept. 23rd, 2018.

Glendale Community College is entering its most stressful period of the semester. Student stress exponentially increases during this time, according to Mental Health America (MHA), a community-based nonprofit geared toward promoting the overall mental health of all Americans.

Below are five tips adapted from MHA and El Vaquero’s staff to alleviate student stress.

1. Stay in the Know

It’s important to be aware of due dates, exam times, and locations. That means checking your email, understanding when and where your finals are being held, and being aware of due dates for final projects. Excuses don’t really fly at this point in the semester, so be aware of where you need to be in the coming two weeks.

One way to stay on top of things is to keep a whiteboard listing exam times in your room.  Our staff especially enjoys crossing completed items out!

Or, utilize a traditional planner or your phone. Writing things down, however, can help you with prioritizing what’s due next and what’s overall most important.

This kind of routine helps you anticipate what you need to do, which aids in preventing anxiety (and, potentially, low grades!).

2. Don’t Forget Tea Time

This is the best time in the semester to encourage your coffee or tea habit. MHA cites data that suggests caffeine can help boost concentration, mood, and possibly short-term memory. However, more than four cups a day can be dangerous, causing jitters or anxiety. If you suffer from sleep issues, you may want to skip the caffeine altogether.

3. Take a Nap

Really. You’re allowed. Don’t sleep through your final, but remember to try to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Evidence shows that sleep helps with test scores and academic performance.

Be kind to yourself and get regular rest so that you can have more productive study sessions and do better on your exams overall.

4. Study Breaks Are Key

Starting Dec. 4, GCC will be in the full finals mode. You’ll be working on final projects and taking exams.

Likely, much of the work will be done in long sittings. Study breaks are important to helping with anxiety, MHA notes. Don’t procrastinate, but take a break and go to the gym. Watch a favorite episode of “Friends” (something you won’t get sucked into watching as a full-blown marathon).

Or take a quick walk. You’ll usually perform better if you incorporate healthy breaks into your study routine. Some of our staff said they enjoy taking a break to clean up and pump up the music in the process. Whatever works!

5. Limit Social Media

The black hole in your life is probably social media. Stay social during finals, but limit your social media. You may want to deactivate your social media entirely if you think it will prove to be a burden to you as you study. You can always reactivate later. In some cases, you may want to uninstall apps from your phone that take up too much of your time.

If you can manage it, set routine times for when you can be on social media and stick to the window of time allotted.

Ultimately, self-care is crucial during the busy period that is finals. Taking certain measures to plan out studying and working on final assignments helps to avoid anxiety later. 

Remember to sleep, rest, and take care. If you plan accordingly, this too shall pass and you’ll persevere.