According to a survey on stress in college students from the American Addiction Center, 89% of respondents said they felt stress from exams. Large stacks of final tests, projects, presentations and essays can be overwhelming for students to take on over the course of just a few days.
Pressure to perform well can take a toll on a student’s wellbeing. Here are some tips to help you prioritize your mental health as you navigate the end of the semester:
Get enough sleep
We have all heard this piece of advice countless times. However, a good night’s sleep is scientifically proven to help you feel more refreshed and in control of your emotions. According to the University of Michigan School of Public Health, “one night of sleep deprivation can dramatically affect mood the next day.”
Getting inadequate sleep can increase feelings of anxiety, which are already heightened during exam season. Whether it means going to bed earlier or sleeping in later, plan your days out to get your full eight hours.
Plan your study schedule in advance
Last-minute cramming for an exam can quickly lead students to feel overwhelmed. Instead, map out what exams you have on each day and plan your study schedule accordingly.
You know yourself best. What subjects do you struggle with the most? Prioritize studying for those exams more. Creating a plan of attack can help make you feel more in control and ready to take on the exams.
Find a study spot that works for you
A good study spot is crucial to your productivity during this time. Whether you like to study in one spot or vary your locations, a comfortable environment is important for your success.
The second floor of the Richter Library and the stacks offer silent studying environments, while the first floor is more social. When Richter gets crowded, the law library and music library are solid alternatives.
The Shalala Center, Lakeside Village, the Aresty building in the business school and Cox Science building all have quiet tables and places to sit. Additionally, the gliders and tables around campus are great options, if you prefer to be outside.
Release those endorphins! According to WebMD, studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.
Your mind is going to be extremely active during finals, and so should your body. Hit the weights or take a hot girl walk at sunset. Whatever your physical activity of choice is, be sure to keep it up during finals season. Even if you listen to a crash course while you walk on the treadmill, it’s important to balance studying with exercise.
Eat healthy meals
Food is nourishment for the body and the brain, so be sure to nourish your body with clean foods that make you feel good. Never deny yourself a little treat to reward yourself for all of the studying, but be sure to balance them out with some fruits and veggies.
A long study session is not an excuse to skip out on meals. Be sure to give your body the nutrients it needs to power you through the long days.
Make time to socialize with friends
Your friends are your support system at school, and chances are, they are experiencing the same stress as you. Get together to debrief the whirlwind of emotions you are going through and plan some fun activities to get your mind off of the stress.
DIY a craft, bake, host a movie night or go out for lunch. Whatever you like to do with your friends throughout the semester, continue during finals season. Your people will be sure to brighten your day.
Get a dose of Vitamin D
A lot of other university exam seasons are filled with dark, cold days, but one of the perks of attending school in Miami is the gorgeous winter weather.
Spend some time sitting outside by the lake or at the UC pool for some Vitamin D, which is known to help you feel more awake, alert and energized. According to Bloodline, to maintain healthy blood levels, aim to get 10–30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week.
You’ll need the energy to fuel your long study sessions.
Attend University-sponsored events
UM puts on a variety of different events to help students during finals weeks. A petting zoo, hammocks, midnight breakfast, massages and free merchandise are a few of the experiences UM students can take part in.
Stop by De-Stress Fest, hosted by Student Government, which will take place on Dec. 6 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lakeside Patio. Take advantage of free food, massage chairs, therapy dogs and giveaway items.
Be sure to follow @univmiami on Instagram for announcements and updates on free finals week events.