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Exam Week Survival Guide for USF Students

USF campus resources are available for students who feel stressed out.


By Laura Kneski

USF News

TAMPA, Fla. (April, 22 2015) - Chocolate, prayers, Netflix and cats. Each USF student has a way of dealing with the stress that ultimately comes with exam week, but not all of them might be as helpful as they appear. Speaking from personal experience, some just end up making you feel gross.

USF Wellness Education held a stress-management workshop as part of their Well-Balanced Bull workshop series, and they shared a few tips. Not all of them may be as fun-filled as locking the door and taking a nap on top of candy wrappers and your laptop charger, but that’s what summer is for.

USF isn’t going to make you do this alone, either. Yeah, the past four months is culminating to this final stretch, which is probably going to make-or-break your grades, but don’t sweat it. Get out your planners (you still have that from Week of Welcome, right?) and let’s see if we can make these last weeks go a little smoother.




1. STRESS RECOGNIZE STRESS

The Counseling Center, one of six departments under Wellness USF, wants to make sure you keep your head on straight. During the three weeks leading up to exams, they are accepting walk-ins for new clients. They are also holding their last two drop-in group sessions this week. They’ll start up again during Summer B and Fall semesters.

The Learning to Let Go drop-in is a discussion group that you can just show up to and vent together. Recognizing what stresses you out is the first step to understanding how to efficiently deal with your stress, and a group setting can help.

Mindfulness Meditation is less interactive, but according to the American Psychological Association (APA) it can relax the body and boost the memory. Not that exams require you to have a great memory – oh wait, yeah they do. Better check the Counseling Center webpage to see when the drop-ins are.





2. HEALTHY BULLS ARE HAPPY BULLS

Student Health Services isn’t just for when you’re sick. It’s great for that, but it can also be for less-extreme body issues than flus and sprained ankles.

Coffees, candies, cakes and cartons of ice cream taste great, but they aren’t always good for us. That’s not a surprise and it’s not going to break the Internet, but it may surprise some that it can actually stress us out more. The APA found out that 49 percent of adults who eat unhealthy foods reported being disappointed in themselves afterward. Isn’t being disappointed in yourself already a big fear during exam week? Don’t worry though, you’ll be fine. You cared enough about exams to read this, right?

For quick tips and questions about healthy eating USF dietitians are available for drop-in visits at Student Health Services until the end of the semester.


3. BUILD THAT MUSCLE – IN YOUR GRADE POINT AVERAGE!

The USF Recreation Center, of course, is more than just a few treadmills. There are two floors of equipment, group fitness classes, a basketball court, a track, a pool, racquetball courts and a whole bunch of other things that make it really hard for you to say you don’t like going to the gym.

Not to bring up the APA again (they know a lot about our brains and what stresses it out) but they say that exercising is a great way to train your body to deal with stress.

After being stuck reading and writing all day, it might be nice just to switch it up. And no, switching from the computer screen to your phone screen doesn’t count as a mental break.





4. MARSHALL STUDY CENTER: STRESS-FREE ZONE

From April 21 to May 1, the Marshall Student Center is becoming the Marshall Study Center. They will be giving out free healthy snacks, massages and group activities. It’s free and fun, too cool for school (yes, that joke is funny because it’s at school.)

The best part is that the events going on will include the resources we already talked about, and there are enough where you can at least make time for one. They have a full schedule up, so find what works best for you!

This isn’t giving you more study time or the answers to the awful essay portions, but maybe it taught you something that will make these last moments less terrifying. They – and by “they” I mean the APA, okay? – links laughing to stress reduction. We tend to hold a lot of stress in our faces and laughing helps the muscles relax. Just make sure you make time for studying between all that laughing.

Keep calm, Bulls, and remember that the beach is only two weeks away.

Side Note: None of this will save you if you didn’t actually study.

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