5 Ways to Handle Stress During Finals Week

Tips include identifying what's causing stress, writing stuff down, staying organized, getting fresh air, and staying calm.
Student using laptop to learn how to handle stress during finals week

Many college students are finishing up finals and patiently waiting for the semester to end. As a current graduate student, I can relate to how stressful the semester can be. But if there is one thing I have learned, it's how to manage the workload and not let school overwhelm me. Here are five ways you too can combat stress and make this semester (and the semester following) the best yet!

1. Identify it

Where or what is causing you the most stress? Before you can think about how to manage stress, you have to understand and identify the problem from its source. Once you identify the problem, now all you have to do is create a plan of action to either get rid of it or minimize it.

2. Write stuff down

The average college student has a laundry list of tasks to complete. By writing everything down, you transfer what has been weighing heavy on your mind onto a piece of paper. Physically seeing all of the things you have to do can help you manage it. Through creating a to-do list, you can actively work to cross each item off as you complete it. Bonus: for every task you cross off your list, reward yourself!

3. Stay organized

Finals week will test your ability to understand all the concepts that you have learned over the last three months. Create a system that will encourage you to remain organized and on top of your assignments. Keep each class's notes in one place, and don't mix assignments from multiple courses. If your notes are scattered, gather all of your materials for each class and put them each in a separate notebook. This will help you immensely as you study.

4. Get some fresh air

As a college student, it's easy to quickly get consumed in all of the things you have to do. Time feels like it slips by like sinking sand. Simply getting up and going for a walk, or feeling the warmth from the sun, can give you a sense of clarity in the midst of all that is in front of you. By deciding to get some fresh air, you are further deciding to take a break, and can return to what you're working on or studying for with a clear mind and fresh set of eyes.

5. Stay calm and practice gratitude

It is quite common to feel like you have to get an exceptional grade on every single final. While this is a great goal, it often isn't as achievable for all of your classes. Don't let yourself get too worked up about your grades – remember, they are not a full representation of who you are, what you'll do in the rest of your college career, or how your life will play out. Just be thankful for the experience your college of choice has given you thus far.

Learn more about managing college academics