By Helena Kilburn
Photo by Matthew Hembree
Now that finals are fast approaching, how are Sewanee students coping with the stress?
Finals are different for everyone, but one’s perspectives on finals certainly change as the years pass. For freshmen, these fast approaching finals are a new and mysterious monster. It is unknown how much they will differ from the midterms of October.
Taylor Hall (C’20) feels “overall pretty prepared. Finishing up final assignments has been bitter-sweet. At this point in the semester, I have begun to view assignments as being a means to an end rather than an opportunity to build a grade average.” This seems like a healthy mentality to have towards school work in general, and especially a great mindset for such a stressful time.
Though this stress moderately affects Hall, he has methods of coping that work for him. “I personally spend time in prayer. God has always provided me with the necessary answers of comfort that are needed in any time of stress,” said Hall. He also doesn’t let the work get the best of him. When asked if he had started studying yet, he responded, “Yes, I have just been occasionally reading over my notes and reflecting on the material that I have learned in each of my courses.” Hall prepares to meet his finals head on, and advises other freshmen, especially if they are feeling stressed, to “relax. If you have put in the work, the results will follow.”
Juniors have the advantage of time. According to Zoe Evans (C’18), “Finals have always been stressful, but I would definitely say freshman year held the most stress. Finals have gotten a little easier to handle now that I know what to expect, and how to prepare accordingly.” Now that she knows what to expect, she is “able to prepare ahead of time and avoid a lot of the stress that I had from waiting until the last minute for everything.”
She also spoke about her methods and strategies for handling stress, saying, “I work on my papers and study guides a little bit each night. This allows me to keep up with everything and not leave it until the night before. Flashcards don’t usually work for me, but I download the Quizlet app onto my phone and run through the quizzes and games when I have free time.” She advises other students to “relax, and get started now! You will be a lot happier throughout finals. Also, sleep is absolutely the most important thing. You will do so much better on your finals if you walk in having a full 8 hours of sleep under your belt!”
Maria Baker (C’18) agrees that sleep is very important in order to do well and stay sane for finals. “All nighters are rarely worth it in my experience, and contrary to popular belief, your professors aren’t actually trying to kill you,” said Baker. She has not started studying yet, but she feels that “now that I’m well into my major, my finals aren’t too bad.” She avoids stress by focusing on getting her final assignments done.
On matters such as stress and studying during finals season, it is always a good idea to get the advice of someone who has been through the process many times: a senior. According to Jessie Hook (C’17), “Freshman year, finals were probably the most intimidating out of all of my exam experiences. Retrospectively a ton of that intimidation and resulting stress was due to the novelty of the situation – first year of college – how does it work? How do I study? What if I fail? Well, you won’t. That’s something I’ve learned. Your professors are there to help you as long as you take the time to show interest and ask for help, not only during finals but the rest of the semester as well.”
She says it gets easier each year, especially once you start taking more classes that you love. In order to avoid stress, she doesn’t procrastinate, because then she will “have time to do others things that balance out the stress such as exercise and spending time with friends” Her advice? “Breathe, walk outside, smile at a stranger, spend time with your friends not your phones, and have fun! We’re here to learn, not just for the grades, but for our own benefit as well and that’s a really exciting thing.”