Dealing With Midterm Stress

Midterm week is stressor for many college students, and the impact it can make on ones semester can be massive. Oftentimes, these mid-term exams account for 20 to 30 percent of a student’s final grade.

David Gullo, a sophomore here at Hilbert College, said most professors on campus do a good job of warning and preparing you, which is necessary as the first six weeks of the semester tend to fly by.

“We’ve only been in class for a couple weeks it feels like,” Gullo said when interviewed prior to the exams. “My professors have been stressing that we need to prepare for these exams, as it can put us (students) on track to succeed this semester.”

But, midterms can also put a student in a huge hole for the rest of the semester. Preparing for potentially four to six of these exams after being in class for just over a month can sometimes overwhelm and cause major stress and anxiety for students.

On top of the fact that these students are stressing about the exams they are taking, the adjustments to protocols in place for the pandemic have made for a difficult semester. Although school work has to be a main priority in order for a student to succeed, these are topics that can certainly not be ignored. Stephen Houghton, another sophomore here at Hilbert, spoke of his experience what it is like to attend college during the crazy events of 2020.

“With everything going on with the pandemic and trying to stay up to date on what’s going on in the election, sometimes it is hard to keep focus and give the attention I need to school work,” Houghton said.

He also said that this sometimes leads to major anxiety for him. Anyone that has ever dealt with anxiety knows that it is extremely difficult to be productive while experiencing it.

“Even getting a little bit behind on my work causes major anxiety for me,” Houghton said. “When that happens, unless someone is there who knows how to calm me down, it is a wasted night of studying for me.” 

During midterms a wasted night may be detrimental to a student’s chances on a mid-term exam.

Thomas Wolstencroft, a career guidance counselor who is speacializes in dealing with students that struggle with stress and anxiety at Gannon University and Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, on how students deal with stress and how they can overcome it.

“Every student is different” Wolstencroft said. “There is no one solution in overcoming your problems dealing with anxiety. But there are some things worth trying that in many cases do help people a great deal”.

A few things he suggested for helping to deal with or avoid the stress altogether were to reward yourself after the completion of a homework or studying session, get enough sleep and eat healthy, as the better you feel, the more likely it is your work will get done, and most importantly keep an agenda. He said it is an absolute must for college students to keep a planner or agenda and write all big tests and due dates in it.

Coming from high school, everything is very structured and lined up for you to succeed. In college, this is not the case at all. If you have all of your assignments written down and accessible, you are much more likely to complete them, according to a study done Educational Leadership

Wolstencroft also said that the key is not to deal with the anxiety when it occurs, but to try and avoid it from happening all together.

“If you can minimize the anxiety from your school work, suddenly things such as the pandemic and the election seem more manageable as you have hopefully already taken care of that huge stressor,” he said.

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