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How to Manage Stress During Finals Week

A person studying

One universal struggle that college students face is stress during finals week. Although everyone wants to do well on their finals, there’s a better way to prepare than pounding energy drinks at 2 a.m. in the library. Take it from a student who is approaching her final semester at Saint Rose —you can manage your stress level and still come out on top.

Here are some tips to help alleviate the pressure of finals week:


When you are healthy physically, you have a better chance of being healthy mentally. And part of being healthy is getting enough sleep at night — especially during finals week. It may seem like there is not enough time in the day to study for final exams and get seven hours of sleep! But, making time to sleep can improve your academic performance. Don’t stay up late cramming, instead, start studying earlier so you can get your beauty rest.

Exercise and Stay Hydrated

Exercising is not only a great way to burn calories. Whether it is going for a run outside or following an at-home workout video, exercise can help you better concentrate and improve your energy level. It also releases endorphins (a chemical your body produces) which can make you feel positive and happy. You don’t have to go to the gym to work out, either. You can go for a jog, attend a yoga class, ride a bike, and play pick-up basketball. If you decide to go to the gym, even a 15-minute workout can get your heart rate up and blood pumping. And, if you are working out, staying hydrated is important. Hydration can help boost your performance, regulate body temperature, and provide oxygen throughout the body. There are a whole host of benefits to drinking water. Make sure to have a water bottle with you when you study!

Take Study Breaks

It is a common mistake to overstudy. Many college students spend long hours in the library, trying to cram in all the information they can. When you are studying, though, you should take study breaks to give your brain a break! These study breaks don’t have to last long — they can be as quick 10 minutes. During these breaks, it is smart to grab a healthy snack and drink some water. You can even try listening to some calm meditation-style music. You don’t want to overwork your brain before a big test or presentation! Chances are you’re not retaining as much information as you think when you pull an all-nighter or 24-hour study session in the library.

DON’T Procrastinate

Charles Dickens once said, “procrastination is the thief of time.” The majority of college students have procrastinated at some point and time (guilty).  Don’t wait until the last minute to start studying (Re: take study breaks).  Start making a study guide when you learn the material, that way by the end of the semester, all the information is in one notebook or document. When you receive the study guide from the professor, study as soon as you get it. Procrastination is a huge reason why people lose sleep, and sleep is THE most important part of being successful during finals week.

Positive Self Talk

Take a deep breath (feel better?). Know that everyone else is in the same shoes as you. Self-talk is more important than you think. When you put negative thoughts into your head, you have a higher chance of the outcome being negative. So instead of saying, “I am so not ready for this final,” change your thinking to, “I am ready.” Positive self-talk goes a long way!

Ask For Help

If you feel like you are really struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. There are a ton of resources available on campus. During finals week, Saint Rose holds stress-free week events that include massages and therapy dogs. The Counseling Center is also always open and available for students to use. And, the Academic Success Center is your number one resource if you want academic support.

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