How to deal with stress during final exam week

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The end of the spring semester may bring increased stress levels for students, but there are healthy ways for TCU students to cope with the stress.

Graphic showing the many different effects that stress can have on the body. Photo credit: American Institute of Stress.

According to the American Institute of Stress (AIS), stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences, but your health can be affected if your stress levels stay elevated for too long.

The AIS reported that symptoms of stress can include depression, headaches, insomnia and more.

“We tend to see a rise in illnesses and clinic visits during the end of the semester,” said Kelle Tillman, associate medical director at the TCU Health Center.

According to the AIS, some of the most common signs of stress are frequent headaches, grinding teeth, stuttering and neck and back pain.

“If students are feeling the effects of stress, they can go to the wellness center, the health clinic or the religious spiritual life building if they need counseling,” Tillman said.

The TCU Wellness Center is offering a “preparing for finals” class on April 23 and a “stress management and coping skills” class on April 30.

JT Snyder, a junor musical theater major, said students should try to start preparing for finals far in advance. Jared Farrow, a senior psychology major, said students should try to establish a routine that works for them to get their assignments done on time.


Photo of Dr. Kelle Tillman. Photo credit: TCU Health Center.

“You have to put yourself first and be kind to yourself,” Tillman said.

Students tend to get in a habit of relying on unhealthy ways to stay up all night to finish assignments or study for a test. Some students rely on energy drinks to do this, but Dr. Tillman said that those will just lead students to a crash the next day.

“Don’t try to load up on caffeine,” Tillman said. “An apple has as much caffeine effect as a cup of coffee.”

Dr. Tillman also said that students should not stay up late the night before to study for a final because you can only study so much.

“The brain has to stop,” Tillman said. “It’s like a filing cabinet. You can only put so much into the cabinet and then the brain has to stop and get replenished for the next day.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed during this finals week, don’t hesitate to reach out. There is a 24-hour phone line for the counseling center and student health center. You can call the TCU counseling center at 817-257-7233 or the TCU Health center at 817-257-7940.

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Jake Hook is a senior sports broadcasting major and journalism minor from Louisville, Kentucky. He has worked as a journalist and broadcaster for the Pierre Trappers baseball team, and he has worked for over three years in sports radio as a producer and show host. When he is not working, Jake is busy consuming all kinds of sports, spending money he does not have or getting frustrated while trying to learn the guitar.