Big on every Ohio University student's radar is the fast-approaching week where all-nighters are pulled and tears are commonly shed: finals week. This exam-filled week may look different for every student but what one thing remains the same: overwhelming amounts of stress.
From The Oracle and according to Research.com, “45% of American college students claimed to undergo ‘more than average stress,’ while 33% of students reported ‘average stress’ and 12.7% saying it is ‘tremendous stress’” due to finals week.
However, Olivia Prevost, a senior studying public health, said her final workload is something she finds manageable.
“(My exams are) honestly not bad; I think a lot of other people are a lot worse off,” Prevost said. “I think mine are mostly spread out and all the teachers are very accommodating. So it hasn't been horrible so far.”
Although her workload is lighter this semester, Prevost said in years past the final exam season required a rigorous effort to balance an intense set of final exams.
“In past semesters it was really difficult because ... it was one on top of the other and you don't really have time to dedicate to that,” said Prevost, “I think that definitely reflected in my grades. I could have done better if they were spread out.”
Many students at OU have a different exam experience than the average tests they spend time studying for.
Robert Schmidt, a graduate student studying outdoor education and recreation management, finds himself with a lot of papers and presentations to accomplish in these last weeks. Time management seems to slip away from many students, something Schmidt can relate to.
“I guess finals week makes sense within the larger context of how we structure education here,” Schmidt said. “I don't necessarily have grief with finals in itself, I guess. Overall, I would love to see more changes in education that are a little bit more adaptable to people's interests and how other people learn because not everyone is a test taker.”
The unfortunate effect of the stress of finals week leads many to become disinterested in their studies and unmotivated in their study efforts. Schmidt finds himself feeling very similar to this cycle, especially when it comes to his paper exams.
“I found myself being very jaded with academia as of late, you know?” Schmidt said. “Sometimes it seems like a different language, reading some of these papers. Like I know what you're trying to say is this, and there is just a simpler way to say it.”
Perri Rubin, a freshman studying journalism, thinks it is important to remember the various other stressors of college life close to winter break. The academics that may already make this time of year demanding for students only add to the stress of finding rides home and interacting with family members.
“Many people are concerned about traveling, going on winter break, and what they’ll see at home,” Rubin said. “A lot of people get stressed about going home and not being happy at home. So I think moving finals week and spreading it out would be beneficial for everyone.”
Recently, Rubin has found that as she approaches her first finals week, she has not seen much outreach from the university in support of students.
“I don't think they offer a lot,” Rubin said. “I haven't seen anything really pushed out to students and I haven't felt any support from the university, but I've seen that there are service dogs. That’s about it.”
OU will host several events to help encourage students through finals week. In addition to the service dogs Rubin mentioned, there is an opportunity to make “survival kits” for the week in Alden Library and interact with furry friends from Athens County Pet PALs.
Rubin finds that staying in tune with herself and prioritizing her mental health has been beneficial in keeping her positive. Exam season is upon everyone, and her advice is to remember that this too shall pass.
“Everything comes to an end,” Rubin said. “Your grade does not define you or who you are as a person. And in like five years will this really matter? Probably not. So keep going.”