The Solution to End of Semester Stress

By Catherine Frederick on December 3, 2017

It’s exam time again. Not only is it exam time, these are finals. This is it. This is the culmination of your entire semester. All the homework and essays and quizzes and reading assignments and exams and study groups and projects and presentations you did were all leading up to this moment.

It’s December, and that should mean Christmas. It should mean Christmas carols and hot chocolate and Santa and presents and some much needed time with family. But it’s like you need to earn it. Before you can leave and relax, you need to go through at least two weeks of hell. One week of studying and another of the exams themselves. It bleeds the life out of the holidays. The reds and greens are replaced by varying shades of grey. Life outside of your textbooks ceases to exist.

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On top of that, it’s time that time of year where the flu comes around. And, as college students, you’d rather just get sick and die than schedule a doctor’s appointment, so you forgo our flu shots. Your roommate sits next to a sick kid, they get sick, and then they spread it to you. It travels fast, and half the kids in our classrooms are sniffling and missing classes before you even have time to register the fact that it’s flu season, and your mom would have taken you to get your flu shot by now. And, of course, it’s not like you’re going to shell out money for a doctor to tell you that you have the flu, because, again, you’re a college student, but the syllabus in your class also states that you need a doctor’s not for your absence to be excused, so it’s either spend money you don’t have or you take an absence that you’d really rather save or something else, or maybe even one that you can’t really afford to take.

And it’s not like your study group is always reliable. Someone sets a date, everyone agrees, and then the day of or the day before, people suddenly remember plans that they have that they’d completely forgotten about. But you need these people to help you study, and you’ve got a study group for this class on this day and an actual exam on this day, and you still need to go to work, because you need to feed yourself, and if you could maybe manage to sleep for an hour or two every now and then, that would probably be helpful. So, it’s hard to reschedule, and, honestly, you study buddy isn’t even that great at lying, so you know they don’t really have some urgent thing that they have to go to.

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And even once you go home, all you’re going to hear from your family is ‘what’s your major?’ ‘have you applied to any jobs?’ ‘what do you want to do after college?’ ‘tell me about your classes?’ ‘have you heard that (insert name of kid you knew in high school here) is (doing something much more impressive than you)?’ So, honestly, is going home after these exams even worth it? Maybe you should just curl up under your bed and watch Netflix? Maybe you should disappear into the woods and live off the land? What about stripping? I bet they make a lot of money. If you quit college and become a stripper, you’ll probably be fine.

So, to recap, there are exams and they’re important and they decide your grades and your grades decide your job and your job decides how much money you’ll make and how much money you’ll make will decide what type of life you can have, so, basically, exams are the most important thing in the world. And you should be celebrating Christmas, but you’re too stressed to celebrate Christmas, and no amount of Christmas will make you less stressed. Also, you have the flu or a cough or possible you’re just dying of stress and too much coffee. And the people whose help you need aren’t being very dependable. And what you face at home after all of this is still pretty stressful. And- and- and…

Breathe.

In and out.

In 2, 3,4.

Out 2, 3, 4.

Just breathe.

Exams are stressful. But, like you said, you’ve been preparing for this all semester. You did all that homework and all that reading and took all of those quizzes. You’ve got this. You’re going to be fine.

And, sure, you may have the flu, but you can tough it out. I mean, you probably could have stood to tough out the flu shot, too, but what’s done is done. It’s not like you don’t have plenty of ramen to substitute for chicken soup, and you’re drinking lots of water. It’ll be over and done with soon, and you still have a week until exams start. You’ll be fine. Better to have it now than a week from now.

Your study group will come together, you will learn to enjoy Christmas again, and the exams will be over soon. Everything’s going to be okay. Don’t panic. Just breathe. You’re going to be fine.

(Good luck with the relatives, though. That’s going to suck.)

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