Students try to cope with pre-finals stress

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    By Steve Nye

    After working on his Humanities 202 project for hours, Ryan Stokes takes a break from studying to watch SportsCenter.

    ?Everyone gets stressed out,? said Stokes, a sophomore from Orem. ?You just have to take time to relax and take a break.?

    As school draws to a close and finals week becomes inevitable, many students experience increased levels of stress.

    ?Today?s students feel an intense pressure to achieve good grades, and choosing poor stress-management techniques can work against their scholastic goals,? said Robin Raskin, director of communications at The Princeton Review, in a press release. ?How students manage exam-time stress can have a huge impact on their ability to perform under pressure.?

    Although students relieve stress through a myriad of activities, some stress busters are healthier than others.

    For most students, cramming for finals is hardly avoidable. However, the best medicine for finals-week stress is adequate test preparation, said Harriet Brand, public relations director at The Princeton Review.

    ?When students cram, they stay up late, drink caffeine and eat poorly, and those things actually increase stress and lower your energy levels,? she said. ?The best things are getting an adequate night?s sleep and eating properly to increase your performance.?

    The Princeton Review and Wrigley advise students to relieve stress through exercising, socializing and creating a productive learning atmosphere.

    As the official sponsor of finals week, Wrigley also recommends chewing gum as a healthy stress-busting activity. Of the 10,000 college students surveyed, 41 percent of respondents chew gum as a way to relieve stress.

    However, chewing gum may not work for everyone, and one BYU student alleviates stress through more traditional activities.

    Exercise is part of Melissa Redding?s finals-week stress alleviating activities.

    ?I go swimming because it increases my energy and relieves tension,? she said. ?It makes me feel rejuvenated.?

    Aside from exercise, Redding also takes time to simply relax.

    ?I take time for me,” she said. ?I just sit down and do nothing for a minute or read something I like.?

    As part of their online services, the BYU Counseling Center provides ways students can handle increased stress levels. Students are recommended to set goals, manage time effectively for high-stress situations and use energy effectively.

    The big problem, however, may not be a lack of effective time management; instead, it may be the lack of time itself.

    Stress Busters

    • Exercise or socialize during study breaks
    • Find the best time to study
    • Create a calming and productive atmosphere
    • Chew Gum
    • Take time to relax daily
    • Eat nutritious foods
    • Get plenty of rest
    • Use energy carefully

    Information from The Princeton Review and the BYU Counseling Center Web sites.

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