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Stress Levels Rise as Finals Week Approaches


Bradley Bommarito

As the fall semester comes to an end next Friday, students are faced with a seemingly endless amount of papers to finish, projects to complete, and exams to tackle.  This is a unique point in the academic year where students are studying more and for longer periods of time.  

Examine any course syllabus here at Roanoke College and you’ll notice that final exams are typically weighted at a much higher grading value than other factors such as homework, attendance, and class participation.  Final exams can count as up to nearly half of an overall course grade, especially in math and science courses.  Passing the final exam is often necessary to pass the course.

With the mounting pressure that comes with the arrival of exam week, stress levels are naturally increasing among the student body.  If you can look at yourself in the mirror right now and say that you’re not stressed at all, you’re only fooling yourself.

But stress can be easily managed and reduced.  Maroons are utilizing all sorts of different methods of releasing and even avoiding stress so that they can be their best selves during finals week.

“I usually cope with stress by being mindful of what I’m doing and staying in the moment.  I can only think of one thing at once, so as long as I focus on what I’m doing, I don’t get stressed about other things,” said Casey Wilson.

Some students prefer to release stress through physical activity, which is one of the 

the most commonly recommended stress-busting strategies.

“I cope with stress by doing physical activities like going for a run or to the gym to take my mind off of things for a brief period of time,” said Ellie Schad.

Engaging in physical activity releases endorphins in the brain that promote restful sleep and act as natural painkillers.  Unsurprisingly, exercise is a popular go-to for when times are tough.

“I cope with stress by distracting myself, oftentimes that includes running it out or painting,” said Carly Schepacarter.

Physical activity can not only serve as a way of relieving stress, but it can also bring people together who enjoy the same hobby.

“One of my favorite methods of stress relief is dancing and listening to music. I am part of a new club on campus called ‘Maroon Movement,’ where every Saturday we get together and practice a choreography routine for about two hours and just have fun dancing. Just being able to move to music that I love not only distracts me from the real stress outside of the studio, but listening to the right song can genuinely alleviate it,” said Donovan Hill.

Others prefer more sedentary methods of achieving relaxation and mindfulness.  Listening to music emerges as a common theme.

“I respond to stress by drinking something warm and listening to my favorite bands,” said Hunter Haskins.

When all else fails, sometimes all you need to do is to watch a classic film with your pals.

“I like watching Disney movies with friends,” said Senn Boswell.

If none of the activities described in this article appeal to you, perhaps you should check out Roanoke’s annual Stress Relief Day.  From 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Saturday, the second floor of Colket will become a hub of relaxation.  Activities include free massages, a petting zoo, and the opportunity to make your own stress relief kit (among other things).

After talking about how many stress-relieving options are out there, I forgot what we were even stressed about!  Oh, right….