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Navigating The Finals Frenzy: 3 Tips To Keep Good Mental Health In College

Updated: Apr 16





The final stretch of the semester is here and all you see are deadlines, deadlines, and more deadlines. You feel stress in your body, perhaps your sleep is disrupted, and you just aren’t sure how you’ll get it all done. Maybe you are snapping at those around you, having anxiety attacks, or just struggling to get through an hour.


You want to have everything balanced and be able to handle what is coming your way, but is all feels so overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be this way though, below are some helpful strategies in order to help you get through finals and achieve your best grades.


1: Make A Plan For Finals

Go ahead and outline everything that needs to be done (yes, this may be overwhelming). Put the dates on a monthly calendar where you can see them and understand what needs to be prioritized sooner or later. Categories can be given points for their easiness or their difficulty. Now that you have that, begin to break down those tasks and prioritize what you can get done.


Once you’ve made things manageable, it can seem less overwhelming to attempt to get it all done. This will allow you to have study breaks, time with friends and family, and avoid cramming everything in at the last minute when it might be harder to learn or keep the information for the exam.


2: How Do I Get Self-Care During College Finals


If you haven’t made a self-care plan yet or thought about self-care, now is the time. What does self-care look like for you? Is it a walk around campus, time with friends, a phone call home, or watching a favorite television show? As you make this list, it can be helpful to put at the bottom when you know that you will need this list. Will you know that you need to step away from the books when you are screaming at your mom or roommate, or when you feel you are on the verge of a mental breakdown? Going ahead and jotting down those cues can be helpful so that when you hit that point, you know to pull out your list and begin to follow it.


During this time, make sure that you are also taking care of your basic needs. Stay hydrated to help you learn, eat plenty of healthy food, and get 7-9 hours of sleep at night so you will be able to remember what you are studying.


Continue to prioritize connection during this time, especially with friends and family. We need connection to decrease stress. A great way to incorporate this and keep learning would be to prioritize study groups and collaborate with classmates.


This can also be a time to learn mindfulness, especially mindful breathing and relaxation techniques. Almost any self-help book for stress will tell you the first step starts with mindfulness. For help with mindfulness, check out our blog post or reach out to us to work on mindful strategies.

3: Campus Resources During Finals


Many college campuses have wellness centers or counseling centers that offer a range of tips and activities to help get you through finals. These are generally posted on their website or around campus. These can include meditations, workouts, on-campus fun activities, and more. Be sure to check out these activities and perhaps involve your friends to have both a great study break and time for connection.


Remember, college is important, but college won’t make or break your future necessarily. Many high-achieving people in the world once had C’s in classes or took a break from college and still went on to achieve great success. At the end of the day, while grades seem like life or death, you are far more important and your family and friends would agree. Take a deep breath, you’ve got this, and break will soon be around the corner.


If you are looking to for help managing the stress of college, Mary Willoughby (Romm) Prentiss is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia who provides online therapy for Willow Tree Healing Center. She enjoys transforming the lives of women, college students, kids, tweens/teens, and families through providing communication strategies, coping skills that work, allowing a safe space to be heard, and actively working towards helping you with your challenges. She is certified in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (ages 2-7) and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, counsels substance abuse in teens and adults, and practices Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy.


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