By: Lizz Panchyk
College students know just how difficult finals season can be, especially after a long and weary Zoom-filled semester. During the spring semester especially, finals season is even more dreadful. Being on the brink of summer vacation, with weather getting nicer, it is extremely difficult to focus on studying for finals.
Each class is different, so you may end up working on a group project, writing a paper, doing an oral presentation or having an old-fashioned final exam. Because finals can mean a variety of things, students may have to prepare differently for each assignment. As the semester comes to an end, however, it is important that we remember to keep our mental health in check, even after finals. With the whole world still grappling to adjust to the pandemic brought on by Covid-19 a little over a year ago, it may be hard to think of this summer as this possibility to get away, relax and unwind.
The spring semester was harsh on both faculty and students as spring break was far from “normal.” We didn’t receive the usual consecutive week off, which made the semester feel longer. But as we head into finals this week, students will be long overdue for a nice break after a lingering and intense semester that almost felt never ending.
One Adelphi first-year is preparing. “I plan on working, taking a class and hanging out with friends,” said Courtney Reddan. “I’m really going to try to not let myself get too stressed over this summer.”
Another first-year, Kenneth Dionisio said, “I actually signed up for counseling recently and aside from that, now that I have vacant time, I can resume some of the hobbies that I love such as writing poetry, painting and cooking.”
Like Dionisio, it’s important to give ourselves breaks, to manage time and to break up the days a bit more so we’re not overloading ourselves. Sit down, make a list of things you have to get done and make deadlines for yourself, because only you know what you’re able to handle in a day. And before you know it, the semester will be over and we’ll be able to celebrate, in a safe way, and give ourselves a well-deserved mental break.
Self-care is probably the simplest way to destress both during finals week and over the summer. It doesn’t have to be anything big like going to a nail salon or driving down to the beach (unless that’s what you prefer). It can be something as simple as taking a long bath or binging your favorite show. We become the best versions of ourselves when we’re taking care of ourselves; whether that be mentally or physically.
Erin Furey, outreach, training and mental health promotion coordinator for the Student Counseling Center (SCC) shared that as a department staff “encourage students to engage in daily self-care in small ways--drinking water, taking breaks for fresh air, movement, food, sleep and most importantly--establishing a daily practice of self-kindness.”
Furey added, “We want students, especially now, to be their biggest fan, not their worst critic. It's so important that students begin to tell themselves positive messages instead of only being self-critical. Our brain is a powerful muscle and the kinder we are to ourselves and those around us, the better we are able to manage stress and anxiety!”
A word from advice from Furey and the SCC that she hopes to share with all students is “begin to be kind to your mind.'” There is no need to always be hard on yourself, so remember to step back and admire just how far you have come.
Never stop taking care of yourself, and let this summer be an opportunity to thrive off self-care and restore your brain capacity in preparation for the next semester.
The SCC is a service that remains available to students throughout the summer. Contact them by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.