Puppies and pre-planning help students prepare to take on the stress of finals

Whether you’re cramming or crying, no one is safe from the chaos of finals week.  Luckily, a variety of tricks and school activities can help relieve the stress of these tests without sacrificing grades. Starting before Thanksgiving break with a “Stress Less” night in the College Union, Healthguards work particularly hard this time of year to offer relaxing opportunities and tips to Geneseo students. Among the Union’s organized events, Healthguards had a table set up where students could write down their stressors, crumple up the piece of paper and throw it into a trashcan.

Geneseo Healthguards are trained students who raise awareness about college health topics, such as safe sex, responsible drinking and stress management.

Healthguard and Health Promotions intern senior Joanna Simone’s number-one tip is to remain calm throughout the studying process – no matter what.

“Remember: Everything is not a crisis,” she said.

While most of us have succumbed to the panicky six-hour study sessions at one point or another, Simone points out that these are actually harmful and unproductive.

“Make sure that, when you’re studying, you take time to go and hang out with your friends,” she said. Periodic breaks as well as ample amounts of sleep are as crucial to success as going over the materials.

“You need to sleep,” Simone said. “No matter how late you stay up, you aren’t going to take the information in.”

Simone also recommends studying sitting up in a chair instead of lying down in your bed.

“Study in the position you will be in when you take the test,” she explained. If possible, study in the room that the test will be in. This helps the brain remember facts on the spot, as it recalls the similar sensation of studying while taking the actual test.

Scheduling is also a key component of finals week.

“Google Calendar is my life,” Simone said, and she highly recommends taking five minutes each morning to quickly plan out what you will be doing for the day, including breaks, meals and exercise.

She recommends sitting down at the very beginning of finals week and creating one universal to-do list for the rest of the semester. She said that, while it may seem daunting at first, “it is such a relief when you are able to cross things off physically.”

Melinda DuBois, administrative director of student health and counseling, seconds the importance of scheduling and taking breaks during studying stress.

“What I hear a lot of students do is sit for hours and hours at a time, and at some point that becomes useless,” she said.

She explained, however, that not all breaks are equal. While many students party during finals as a reward or de-stressing technique, she believes that this actually puts excess stress on the body and mind and negates the hours of work that students put into studying.

Both Simone and DuBois highly recommend incorporating meditation into your finals routine, because it effectively calms and awakens the mind and gives it a much-needed rest from the constant multitasking it’s expected to perform.

So, when it comes down to it, maybe the best thing you can do to succeed this finals week is take a break.