Finals week: a patchwork of research paper deadlines, lengthy study-guides, thick stacks of flash cards
and emptied Starbucks cups scattered around Carlson Library.
For Derick Trong, a second-year bioengineering major, it “is here pretty fast” and he’s “pretty stressed.”
“You can be doing great in a class and a final can totally change that,” Trong wrote.
Markus Owens, second-year criminal justice major, echoed that sentiment.
“If your teacher never posts grades on Blackboard…if you still don’t understand the curriculum…when
you’re going to school and trying to balance a job…it can be very stressful,” Owens wrote.
Stress, whether due in part to time consuming class preparedness or exams themselves, can be
detrimental to an individual’s well-being.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, test anxiety can manifest itself both
physically and emotionally.
Physiological symptoms range from headaches and nausea to rapid heartbeat and light-headedness
while psychological tolls includes feelings of anger, helplessness, difficulty concentrating and a spike in
To help students maneuver the ins-and- outs of finals week and avoid some of the negative
repercussions surrounding performance, UT provides each student with a success coach.
One coach, Shawna Babula, views finals week as “the most stressful time window of the semester.”
So, she suggests, "starting with a plan,” adding, “that anxiety kicks in when you’re swirling around
without any concrete steps to help the situation. Invest a few minutes and build an exam study schedule
for the next few weeks.”
And if students have tired of the academic preparation, Babula suggests other skills including, “brain
breaks,” mindfulness, posture readjustment and deep breathing techniques.
For some students, finals week is not a stressful experience; it is a means to an end, a “your hard work
has paid off” pat on the back and another step toward graduation.
“I’m excited not to have 50 thousand things running through my head at all times and a constant
checklist in my mind,” wrote Torrie Zeigler, a second-year recreational therapy major. “I know that two
stressful weeks means three months of relaxation.”