Dear Faculty and Staff: Several weeks ago, we announced that the University’s ongoing virus surveillance testing program would transition from repeated testing of all students to large-scale “freedom from disease” sampling of the residential campus population. Faculty epidemiologists from the…
End of Semester Stress? Here’s Some Advice, Resources to Help Cope
The end of the semester brings extra work, prepping for final papers and exams, and a heavy dose of extra stress. Stress cannot totally be eliminated but it can be managed.
Kristelle Aisaka, a health promotion specialist focusing in mental health in the Office of Health Promotion, highlights some advice her office provides to students and campus support resources that can help alleviate some of the worry in the mad dash to get everything done.
Q: What is the biggest stress factor for students at this time of year—end of semester?
A: Students definitely have a lot of things contributing to high levels of stress as the semester wraps up. Finishing up final projects and preparing for presentations and exams definitely cause stress and anxiety, on top of what is already pretty stressful for most students.
The general stress associated with being a full-time student, other things that might be going on in personal relationships or at home, current events, job or internship stress, financial stress, you name it—all of those things, with the added pressure of the semester coming to a close, can definitely add to the stress.
Q: What are some things you discuss with students in your programming about dealing with stress?
A: We talk a lot about self care and what that looks like, not only during this end-of-semester crunch time but throughout the rest of the year as well. Incorporating meditation, breathing exercises, stretches or other short activities that are effective and energizing can be helpful, as can utilizing personal or professional resources for support.
That said, we also acknowledge that experiencing stress is inevitable, and no amount of stress management practices will completely eliminate it from our lives; we also talk about coping with stress by noticing our physical and emotional responses to it, keeping perspective and recognizing what we can change, and putting ourselves in a healthier place physically and/or emotionally to best react to that stress.
Q: What are other resources on campus that can help?
A: Our office provides free bulletin board kits to campus leaders on stress management and other health topics, as well as sleep kits that people can order (they’re free!) that come with sleep information and resources (a sleep mask, earplugs and tea). We also have the Stress Reduction Room, which is a great resource for students looking for a place to relax.
Outside of our office, the Counseling Center and Student Assistance are great resources for students. Additionally, our office has been in contact with Student Centers and Programming Services and Orange after Dark, who are doing their Stressbuster event this Sunday, Dec. 11, from 10 p.m.-1 a.m. in the Schine Student Center, as well as the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which is doing De-Stress with DPS events in Bird Library from 8-11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9; Sunday, Dec. 11; and Monday, Dec. 12.
Q: What is your go-to method for relieving stress—either in the moment and some longer-term ways?
A: Depending on how much time I have, definitely coloring or meditation. We have a new biofeedback headset in the Stress Reduction Room that has been really helpful for that. Keeping my schedule up to date, making sure to schedule time for self-care and being intentional about who I spend more (or less!) time with in my personal life helps me manage stress long term.