Finals week is rapidly approaching and almost every student at Messiah College is beginning to experience some degree of stress. In fact, the majority of students on college campuses across the nation have claimed that their number one cause of stress is directly related to their final examinations.
According to a recent study conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), nearly 80% of college students experience high levels of stress in their daily lives. Common stress symptoms among students can include variations in eating habits, muscle aches and pain, and sleeplessness. The study also noted that stress levels frequently increase during the weeks of final examinations.
When Messiah students were questioned about their own experiences with the stress of finals, many of them responded with fervent and honest attitudes. According to Laurel Walsh, a first-year student at Messiah, “It’s hard to get anything done before and during finals because everything is due all at once. You can’t study for finals because you’re trying to get other homework done and vice versa. It’s just a messy cycle of work.” Sophomore Kelly Hopkins added, “So many things get in your way at once. It’s hard to keep your focus and force yourself to get everything done. It’s just really frustrating”.
Even professors are taking notice of the toll that finals week takes on students. Cathy Coleman, a professor of the “Created and Called for Community” course at Messiah, noted: “It’s hard for students to sort out what has to be done and what can wait. I think in the midst of that, the learning experience for students is lost because they become so overwhelmed and focused on the final grade rather than actually appreciating the content of a course. It really saddens me”.
However, while finals week may be a primary stressor, some students have their own strategies for coping with stress. Several students across campus have claimed that exercise, hanging out with friends, listening to music, and prayer/meditation are all methods they utilize in order to “de-stress”. In addition, it was important for the students to remember that they are not alone. Carly Laird, a first-year student, stated: “It helps to remember that other people are going through, or already have gone through, the same thing that I am. If they can handle the stress and survive, then I can too”.