Taking on finals week
Stephanie Ho, Mike Vicidomini, Jason Kiesel, Rachel Heob and Lyndsey Edmonds play with Marlie, an adopted dog, on the UA Mall on Dec. 8, 2013. Activities like this are designed to help students alleviate end-of-the-semester stress.
Offering University of Arizona students the opportunity to pet dogs, get tutored, de-stress and eat free pancakes, Finals Survival Week kicks off another semester of student engagement.
Finals Survival Week is an interdisciplinary committee designed to help de-stress, re-focus and re-energize students during the weeks of April 28 through May 10 by collaborating with groups like Counseling and Psych Services (CAPS), Think Tank and Arizona Meditation Research Interest Group (AMRIG).
The committee provides educational and study resources, as well as opportunities for improved health and wellness in students. Throughout the week, there are free events, online resources and discounted Unions specials campus-wide to support students during the stressful time.
“Good mental health is multifaceted. UA seniors gave some tips of what they do to help contribute to their positive mental health: being outside talking to a friend or counselor, meditate, getting involved, getting more sleep, help others, have goals, perspective, traveling, take naps, work out, draw, read, sing, etc,” said Carrie Johnson, a health educator at the UA and the social media coordinator for UA Campus Health.
Stress is a natural part of life, and healthy habits like getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, being social and doing things you enjoy can help you better cope with stress, according to Johnson.
“The end of the year and finals are significantly stressful times for students, engaging in activities that promote health and wellness can help students de-stress, re-focus and re-energize,” Johnson said.
Johnson suggested the best way to have good mental health is to exercise and socialize. She said she always feels better after taking a workout class or going for a run or walk with a friend.
Staying healthy physically with exercise and having good eating habits also helps students cope better with stress and be more mentally aware, according to Johnson.
“It can be difficult this time of year, but getting enough sleep, eight hours, is also important,” said Heather Kleeman, a Finals Survival Week committee member. “Finals Survival Week is a resource to assist students in de-stressing with free activities before and during finals week.”
Stressbusters is a national outreach program that trains and teaches volunteers to be resource advisors and providers of events that connect thousands of students all over campus. This program is successful in its goal of reducing stress in students and relieving anxiety and has showed reports of decreases in stress and muscle tension associated with overwhelming feelings.
“Studies have shown that the most productive people tend to take a 15-minute break every 45 minutes. It’s important to make good decisions with exercise, sleep and eating healthy, which will make you more alert and aware for finals,” Kleeman said.
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Programs and services like CAPS and Think Tank contribute to students maintaining their mental health while getting tools they need to be successful in exams.
CAPS offers psychiatric help to students that need assistance and guidance when dealing with personal problems so they can be successful in their education, as well as their mental health.
“One example of a collaboration was with Counseling and Psych Services and the Think Tank, they put on a Tackle Your Test Anxiety workshop. Counseling and Psych Services is here for students during finals and throughout the year,” Johnson said.
Think Tank is another student-supported program that offers tutoring in all subjects and a way to help students develop more effective study habits and skills.
Finals Survival Week offers students several opportunities to de-stress throughout finals week. Members encourage students to take part in these activities to help deal with any obstacles that might come their way as the semester comes to a close.