With finals week approaching, it is common for students to feel overwhelmed and burned out by the workload and stress of their classes. If you feel as though you fall under this category, know that you are not alone. According to a study by Bernadette Melnyk, chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State, the level of student anxiety, depression and burnout rose from 40% to 71% between April 2020 and April 2021 (Campbell, 2021).
This statistic clearly represents the upward trend of stress among college students following the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift from in-person to online learning back in 2020 had an obvious impact that would affect students for the rest of their college experience. Some would even note that the shift from online back to in-person learning in 2021 would prove an even bigger impact on students’ learning styles and capabilities.
As this fall has been the first semester of in-person classes since 2020, students now face the end of the semester with a greater deal of stress in order to finish strong. Here are four ways in which college students can combat these anxieties and better create a student-life balance as they study for finals week:
Find a New Study Spot
Working in places like your bedroom, living room, or somewhere close to home may make it difficult for you to concentrate on your studying. Find a new spot, maybe even a place you’ve never been, and make it your new study zone. This encourages a better student workflow by detaching yourself from all familiarity and distractions. The location of which you choose can range from anything to a local coffee shop, an on-campus study hall, and even a park bench. Wherever you can find yourself most focused is a great place to start.
Allow Yourself to Take Breaks
Finding good study habits is essential to getting a successful grade in your classes, but be sure to not overload yourself with too much work at the same time. Give yourself plenty of breaks in between studying to ensure you won’t overwork your brain. Pick out specific times within your study session, whether it's 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or even 1 hour into studying to give yourself time to regenerate. This gives your brain the opportunity to sink in the information studied so you can feel refreshed and prepared to start studying again after your much-needed break.
Focus on One Task at a Time
It can be difficult at times to not have a hundred tabs open on your web browser, but when it comes to studying, downsizing is key. Make sure to close out any unnecessary tabs when using your laptop or other devices when studying. This is to limit the number of distractions you have when you’re trying to focus. Another suggestion would be to turn off all notifications from your devices in order to hone in on your work. How annoying would it be for messages to constantly be popping up on your laptop while you’re studying? Take the time to log off and block out anything that would negatively impact your study time.
Let Your Work Sit Overnight
Be sure to prepare yourself for finals week by studying ahead of time. Only studying one day before your final versus studying a whole week before your final changes the whole directory of your finals’ outcome. Allotting 1-2 weeks before any final to study gives you the opportunity to let your studying truly sink in. Don’t overload your brain by staying up all night every night studying; that would only hurt you. Give yourself time to go to bed and let the information sit in your brain overnight. This gives students more of a chance to remember the material and succeed when taking their finals.
Campbell, L. (2021, July 26). College students report high levels of anxiety amid pandemic.
Healthline. Retrieved from