Stress Management during the Last Weeks of the Semester

By Rachel Stevens

Late nights spent studying, early mornings of chugging coffee, and thinking about all of the assignments that you have to do while juggling classes is a typical situation for a college student. The end of the semester is nearing, and finals are looming over students’ heads. No matter what a student studies or what year they are, almost everyone feels stress at some capacity.

While balancing academic life, students also have to balance involvement in extracurriculars and somehow maintain some semblance of a social life. What can be done to manage all of this? Here are 10 tips to help guide you through these lasts weeks of the semester.


1. Write down assignments and events in a planner or calendar to manage your time.

Writing assignment, tasks, and meetings down makes it more likely to be remembered later. Find one place to put all events, assignments, and other important tasks. That way, there is one spot to reference when the time arrives to schedule social events. Also, there is no feeling that is as satisfying than crossing off something on an assignment or to-do list. There is a certain sense of motivation to do assignments when they are written out.

2. Get outside!

Spring weather in D.C. is notoriously beautiful. Consider getting out of your stuffy room and sitting outside for a bit to get some fresh air. There are plenty of green spots on campus to sit and sunbathe. The vitamin D you receive from the sun is a boost. Sit outside with friends in front of the pryz to eat or relax on the Basilica lawn between classes. Whatever you do, make sure to wear sunscreen!

3. Study and do homework with friends.

There’s no reason studying has to be boring! With so many group study rooms on campus, utilize these spaces to be around your friends while you do your work. A lot of motivation and encouragement can come from being surrounded by your friends during the work grind. Even better, if someone is in the same class, an exchange of notes and help is not a bad idea.

4. Make sure you save time for 7-8 hours of sleep.

Sleep is important. Nothing helps stress more than getting the necessary amount of sleep. Recommendations from doctors and various health professionals are that young adults should get 7-8 hours of sleep. While that may sound unattainable, if time is managed well there should be no reason to stay up until the morning doing work. Getting enough sleep will allow for more alertness during classes and more efficiency during the day.

5. Take time for yourself.

Being surrounded by people all the time on campus can be draining. Always waving to people, chatting, and giving time to others is hectic. Finding enjoyable activities that relax and excite is important to self care. Whether it’s watching some netflix, doing art, or listening to music, minds and bodies benefit from this down time alone. Self care is key to recharging for a better academic and social life.

6. Talk to professors about questions.

A large portion of stress can source from not understanding an assignment or feeling overwhelmed and confused by course material. Professors are often overjoyed to open their office doors to questions. This will give a better understanding of the assignments and material and will allow for a connection with a professor who could be a potential reference some day.

7. Exercise.

Exercising releases a large amount of endorphins. Endorphins are a natural chemical in the body that when released produces a heightened feeling of positivity and energy. The kane has many fitness classes during the week, and going with friends can reduce gym intimidation felt by many beginners.  

8. Call home.

Hearing encouraging words from loved ones is a sure way to reduce your stress. Parents, grandparents, or any loved ones back home are ready to offer words of encouragement. Keeping the line of communication open back home will benefit both parties.

9. Talk positively to yourself.

Self-talk can be often times negative. We tell ourselves, “this will never get done,” or “I’m just not smart enough to do this.” If you change your dialogue to encourage yourself you’ll find your daily tasks easier.

10. Contact the counseling center.

When all else fails, and you feel like you need a professional to help you, contact the counseling center on campus. There is absolutely no shame in going to seek professional assistance. More students than you realize utilize this resource every day. Every student receives forty five free sessions. This includes psychiatry and therapy. Every student is also eligible for free unlimited group sessions.  

The feelings of stress are temporary; do your best to try these tips. These are merely suggestions, and everyone has their own version of these tips and personal ways of destressing. You will make it through the semester, and summer is only three weeks away.


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