Surviving finals stress in Swem
December 3, 2010
Few things possess the same level of stifling frustration as final exams. Exams mark your GPA’s last chance to salvage this semester. For some of us, these aren’t just grades, but possible gateways to premier graduate programs and stellar careers. Everything becomes much more immediate as the dates of our exams approach. A short refrain persists in the back of our heads, saying, “This is the rest of my life.” All contentment is pushed aside. If that wasn’t enough, we are constantly reminded that the rest of society is off enjoying the beginning of the holiday season. An evening stroll around Colonial Williamsburg is all it takes to break your heart. Wasn’t it only a week ago that we were at home eating turkey, stampeding through department stores at 5 a.m., and dusting off our holiday decorations with our friends and family?
Regardless of what you’re studying for, you’re most likely compelled to go to Swem by instinct. To accommodate this, Swem will be open all day for much of the finals period. It will transform into a magnificent monument of neuroticism. Yes, you can practically live there, but you must remember that this concept is not unique to you in the slightest everyone will be attempting to claim Swem and the academic buildings during finals.
We’ve packed up the holidays for now, but that doesn’t mean the spirit has to suffer. Try sharing whatever space you have, and keep in mind that everyone’s edges will be frayed in the coming weeks. No one needs extra drama, no matter how small an off-handed comment or action may seem. I am not asking you to do anything disingenuous, but rather to be mindful of others — the anxiety of finals season is universal.
Stress is both contagious and toxic, and the biggest mistake you can make is failing to realize that there is relief. Make an appointment with the Writing Resources Center, talk to your professors and make time to see your friends. Now is not the time to regret what you could have done to improve your grades — you have to move forward and press on. You have been given a rare modicum of control of the future. Your life will not end after finals; it may worse but it may improve drastically. No matter what your plan of action is for surviving the next two weeks, accept that there is a month-long reward at its end.