Students take on finals week stress

Second-year master's student Sam Chates quietly meditates on Nov. 28 in the University Center building on the Downtown campus. Chates started ASU Mindfulness Community to focus on regulating emotions and managing stress. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

The battle against stress is not always visible, but ASU students might feel it the most during final exams.

Ruth Flucker, a clinical assistant professor at the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, said many students experience stress on a regular basis.

“Stress is a real problem,” said Flucker, who is a registered nurse. “It becomes even more of a problem during this time of year.”

Flucker said it is important for students to monitor stress levels and to take the time or find help to de-stress.

“They need to be aware,” she said.  “Some peoples’ anxiety reaches a peak and if you feel overwhelmed, reach out.”

According to a 2009 study  by the American College Health Association, 27.6 percent of 2,238 students surveyed said stress affected their academic performance, and 73.9 percent said they experienced stress in their last school year.

Flucker said she has her classes perform calming exercises before a big test as well as during finals week, so students don’t feel overwhelmed.

“I have them do deep breathing and walk them through some guided imagery,” she said. “I also tell them to talk to people in the same situation; that can relieve a lot of stress.”

Interior design sophomore Hannah Gutierrez said venting to her friends helps her de-stress.

“I live with my best friend,” she said. “Sometimes we just sit down and let it all out and it makes me feel so much better.”

Gutierrez expressed frustration at some of the expectations professors have of their students.

“It’s what you’ve gone over the entire semester and they just throw these tests at you,” she said. “It’s kind of ridiculous.”

During finals week, students can often be spotted sporting comfortable clothing to class. Gutierrez stressed the importance of comfort.

“Wearing sweat pants and comfy clothing to class is totally understandable,” she said.  “You want to feel as relaxed as possible.”

Nursing senior Tina Violetta said it’s common for students to get stressed during finals.

Violetta is president of the Downtown campus chapter of Active Minds, a nationally recognized club that strives to raise awareness about mental health.

Active Minds held a “Stress Out for Finals” event on Nov. 28 to educate students about activities that can help relieve stress.

“Arts and crafts, meditation and yoga were some of the activities we offered,” Violetta said.  “They are great outlets for de-stressing.”

Violetta was pleased with the amount of students who attended the event because they were learning how to proactively deal with finals stress.

“Probably 400 to 500 people stopped by,” she said.  “It seemed like students were really interested.”

Violetta said when she gets stressed, one thing that always seems to help is clearing her head.

“I just like to take a break sometimes to regroup and refocus,” she said. “Sometimes getting together with friends is good too.”

Gutierrez said starting finals with a clear mind is really important.

“It’s your final chance that will make or break your grade,” she said.  “It’s a big deal.”

 

Contact the reporter at: Tksincla@asu.edu
Click here to subscribe to
the daily State Press newsletter.