Just about any Gustavus student would testify to the stress of upcoming finals. First-years and seniors alike are feeling the general dislike of studying and writing papers. With final exams beginning Monday, Dec. 15 and continuing until Thursday, Dec. 18, now is the time to buckle down and get things done.
For first-years, the finals portion of the semester is uncharted territory. First-year Mary Cooley said, “I’m pretty worried about [the tests] because I have never had finals before.”
Other students share similar concerns, even those who have undergone the rigorous time of testing. Sophomore Allie Schulte said, “This semester is probably more stressful because I am trying to get into nursing. … I’m trying to get my grades up because it is the last semester that matters.”
Adding to the stress is the fact that most students have a difficult time starting early on studyiing. “I always say I am going to start looking over my notes, but it doesn’t happen,” said Schulte. She commented that she crams, which undoubtedly a great many other students cam identify with.
“Three out of the four semesters so far, I’ve had to pull an all-nighter,” said Junior Psychology Major Emma Iverson. She explained that “part of it is procrastination, and part of it has been the classes I’ve taken.” She added that she was involved in a lot of activities, and the combination of all those things made studying more difficult. “I didn’t really have a choice but to stay up until 3:00 a.m.”
Senior Communication Studies Major Alex Jones said, “I spend a lot of time thinking about finals and how I’m going to study, but in the end I will just be cramming in the [library] the night before a test.”
Not everyone is quite as worried, however. “I’m not really worried about finals at all,” said Senior Communication Studies Major Chris Kastagly. He said, “I’ll probably study a few hours for each one.”
Senior International Management Major Alicia Cameron also seemed to be relatively calm about the upcoming exams, explaining that, “I have been in good communication with my professors and classmates, and my exams are not all on the same day.”
So how are students dealing with this stress? Cooley shared that, first, “[I am] going to get through writing all the papers that are due for final papers, and then I’ll probably study for each test a couple days before … study a lot.”
Schulte said that it was important for her to “read through my notebook and focus on my notes; stuff I don’t understand I’ll look up in the book.”
“I will go through my notes for the semester,” said Iverson. She continued, “I have a lot of classes that give study guides, which is nice.”
While noticing the study tactics of fellow students can be helpful, the Gustavus Advising Center offers its own advice to students on its website. These tips including getting a lot of sleep, staying on top of daily work (then adding test preparation at least a week before the exam), avoiding talking to peers about the exam immediately before taking it (as it increases anxiety), asking for clarification for the professor if anything is unclear, using positive self-talk to calm fears and be aware of physical tension.
The website also notes that one test will not “make or break” your Gustavus career. “Realize that it is a measure of how well you know the material on that day, not your worth as a person.” Compare yourself only to yourself and remember that your family and friends will always support you.
Another thing to remember is that after finals comes Christmas Break—when all of the hard work is rewarded with time off.