Stress during Finals

My name is Beata Safari and I graduated with a B.A. in international affairs from George Washington University in 2013. I am attending my first year at Seton Hall Law School now, pursuing an interest in international law. My interests include playing piano, doing puzzles, exercising and doing lots of reading, especially now that I’m in law school!

I don’t mean to scare you, but finals are close approaching. Soon, you will be surrounded by stress at every angle. Not necessarily your stress: but the stress of others. I allude to the following situation: being surrounded by fellow students stressing over finals is like being surrounded by pregnant women when you are pregnant. Sure, you can handle it when you go to classes together, but once you’ve left the classroom, their stress and their worry will overwhelm you and cause you to think: “I’m not worried about x, y and z like they are…should I be?”
Do NOT let yourself get scared off by your classmates who are terrified about their finals. If they are being rational and calm, then you should talk to them about what material they’re studying and say you’d like to form a study group. However, you should not indulge in their misery or let yourself believe that there’s something “wrong with you” because you’re not joining in.
On the other hand, if you are the one who is stressed, don’t be. The individuals who are most stressed are the ones who don’t do any studying until the day before the exam. In that case, they should be stressed. (It’s okay; I was guilty of only studying the last day in college too. Though I did well for the most part, I do not recommend waiting until the last second. I went to every single class, took great notes, did all of the homework and most of the readings, and actively engaged with my professors, so I had luck on my side.)
So how do you relieve that stress? The best stress-reliever is early studying. What is the use of making flash cards one night in advance when you can’t consistently check your knowledge of what’s on them? You would spend more time writing the flash cards than actually studying them. I received this piece of advice and wish I had listened to it when I got it and not later: the best studying begins immediately after the first class you take. If you did not do the reading for the class, at least make sure to read the relevant portions discussed in class, particularly the parts you did not understand because you did not read them beforehand. Review your notes and make sure you understand everything. If there is something you do not understand after extensively studying, talk to your classmates or, better yet, discuss the topic with your professor.
Remember: finals do eventually end! What has always helped me get through any kind of difficult time is knowing I have something to look forward to. Make sure you’ve either scheduled dinner with close friends and family or some other enjoyable activity in which you are socializing with people. Once finals are over, it is important to remember that you are surrounded by people who love and support you. Keep calm and don’t stress. Happy studying!!

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