The final countdown: Surviving the last weeks of fall semester

Finals are the bane of every stressed out college student’s existence. Students pore over notes, textbooks, flash cards and Quizlets to absorb all the information possible in the shortest time possible, psyching themselves out before they even sit down to take the exam. This results in neglect of an essential aspect of wellbeing: mental health.

Unfortunately, it is easy for students to put their mental health on the back burner, and this only becomes effortless when final exams are thrown into the equation. While finals are a significant part of college life, it is more crucial to make sure that mental health is a priority.

When you possess the highest possible levels of mental health and clarity, you become the best version of yourself that you can be. It sounds cliché, but not only does your mental health affect your thought processes, it also affects your mood, your emotions and how you handle yourself overall.

One way to optimize mental health during finals season is to take study breaks. While this may seem like a no-brainer, it is a detail that students can easily overlook. For a short span of time, perhaps 15 minutes, push the textbooks and notes to the side and watch a funny YouTube video, or aimlessly scroll through any social media site of your choosing and save yourself from the breakdown later.

Cramming is a poor habit that can leave you cursing at your brain to process information faster. However, no matter how much you try, your brain has a mind of its own, and will not cooperate. So, instead of trying to cram a ton of things in your head all at once, if possible, study bits of information earlier for a shorter amount of time. If you do this, you will most likely remember the information better when the day of the exam comes — and you will be fresher mentally, helping you to feel more prepared.

If you end up feeling like you cannot handle the stress or just need to vent, any type of support system, such as family or friends, is critical. Support systems have the advantage of an outsider’s point of view, which can help you put things in perspective and deal with any issues that you may be facing. Often, it simply helps to confide in someone about anything that may be troubling you, whether it is big or small.

Finally, put everything into perspective. Although final exams are certainly important, they are also temporary. Remember not to sacrifice your wellbeing for a grade; your mental health will thank you later.

Email Sierra Andersen at


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