Students cope with stress of semester’s end, finals
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 01:12
At the end of each semester, college students face a culmination of final exams, projects and papers. A jam-packed schedule mixed with dwindling amounts of sleep can cause stress and exhaustion. However, students can find ways to cope with the overwhelming workload and stay motivated.
According to Deena Crawford, director of Student Counseling Services at the University of Southern Mississippi, an average of 100 more students come in to her office to seek help this time of year.
“Anxiety, depression and adjustment issues are heightened this time of year,” Crawford said. “Students have a higher level of crisis and increased urgency.”
Crawford said SCS saw an increase of 150 students come in for counseling over the amount they saw the same time last year. For those who prefer self-help, she went over three main stress busters.
First, individuals have to stop negative self-talk.
“If you tell yourself, ‘I’m stupid, I suck or I’m going to fail this class,’ you are more likely to fulfill that prophecy,” Crawford said.
Second, behavior needs to change realistically. Crawford gave an example of stopping constant partying and going out.
“Instead of saying, ‘I won’t go out until January,’ just stay in one night and see how it makes you feel,” Crawford said. “Make realistic changes.”
Lastly, students should to ask for help if they feel they need it.
“Asking for help is something college students struggle with because they are trying to become independent,” Crawford said. “Then they wait till the last minute and don’t know what to do. You should ask for help from someone unbiased that you trust.”
Students can make an appointment at Student Counseling Services, located in Kennard-Washington Hall, by calling 601-266-4829 or visiting www.usm.edu/student-counseling-services.
Not only are professionals helping students cope with stress, students are helping each other.
Catherine Lamb, a senior psychology major, helped organize the Sink or Swim event held at Wilbur Stout Hall last month. Participants shared tips for stress management at this event. For some attendees, studying in complete silence was the way to go, while others needed background noise. Some people did not choose to study in the library, while others went there to concentrate. Still, some students are concentrating not just on studying, but also on the future.
Caitlin Jackson, a senior photojournalism major, battles to keep motivation to study.
“I think that the hardest part of being a senior is when the end of semester stress starts to set in, it’s really hard to fight off senioritis and find the motivation to go to class, study and finish projects,” Jackson said. “I just have to keep reminding myself that I am still in school and there is still work to be done in order to graduate.”
Jackson shared her mantra that keeps her going.
“I’m graduating in May. I’m graduating in May. I’m graduating in May,” Jackson said.
While Jackson is making preparations for graduation, graduate students are dealing with their own stressors. Undergraduates may view graduate school as very different, but grad students also have finals and projects due at the end of the semester.
Graduate student Courtney Ingle has a myriad of conferences to plan, comprehensive tests to study for and papers that are much longer than undergrad assignments.
Ingle is a graduate student in the School of Mass Communication and Journalism. She copes with stress by keeping in mind that “my education can’t be taken away from me. I’m not guaranteed a job. It’s only my first semester in graduate school, but I have an education I worked hard for.”
There are many different avenues students can take to cope with end of semester stress. Students should find what works for them and remember the reason for their stress - education - is worthwhile.