Mid-Term Stress Weighs On Students
By: Shelby Anderson
All aboard the struggle bus!
The midterm slump has started its sweep across college campuses across the nation, said Zach Miners, education writer for the U.S. News & World Report.
“It’s my least favorite part of the school year,” said Lucas Grosse, a construction management sophomore at Lansing Community College.
With due dates, projects and exams quickly approaching, students are feeling enormous amounts of stress and anxiety.
Grosse said that all the preparation in the world couldn’t prepare him for the stresses he faces during his midterms.
“I keep a planner and sticky note reminders all over my room, yet I still get overwhelmed and lose a lot of sleep trying to study and keep up with the workload,” Grosse said.
“Between working over 15 hours a week, taking 17 credit hours of class, and all five of my classes having approaching midterms, projects, and research papers due, I’m dead,” said Grosse. “I have no time to sleep.”
Does this sound familiar?
Wuyu (Rain) Liu, first-year graduate student at Michigan State University said she thought she was a pro at college, but she still can’t avoid the slump in the middle of the semester.
“I thought it would get easier as the years went on, but I couldn’t be more wrong,” Liu said.
“Graduate school is a lot harder than I thought it would be.” said Liu. “The classes are a lot more relaxed, with a lot more work. I have more homework, I lead a class recitation, have a job off-campus, and somehow find time to fit studying for all my midterms in the middle of the night, thankfully.”
With all the late night study sessions at the library, Liu said she loses a lot of sleep in the upcoming weeks before midterms.
Liu said: “The stress is just overwhelming, and I end up pulling all-nighters. I can always count on getting sick during midterms too.”
“I’m even sick right now,” she said, mid-cough.
Students often think that staying up all night studying will help cram those last few terms or questions, but in reality, not sleeping doesn’t benefit the student in anyway, said Jonathan Kermiet, who works at the Olin Student Heath Center at MSU as apart of the LifeRx program.
“When you stay up all night, every part of your body has no time to recap,” he said.
Kermiet said that drinking energy drinks does not help the offset of losing any amount of sleep.
“Energy drinks just make you numb from wanting to go to sleep, you’ll feel the effects eventually,” he said.
When students let stress overtake their life they are more susceptible to illness and depression, and are more sleep deprived than when they are not stressed with school, Kermiet said.
An Olin Student Health Center stress pamphlet says that when midterms or finals are approaching there is a substantial rise in the amount of students who go to Olin for symptoms for the common cold, or depression.
So what is the best way to deal with the unavoidable stress of midterms?
Kermiet has found some very helpful tips to relieving this stress after seeing many students come into his office sleepy, worn out, and sick.
First, find something that relaxes you. It could be exercise, going on a walk, talking on the phone with your friends or family, or shopping, he said.
Once you find that relaxer, allow yourself to do this activity even when you are not stressed, so it becomes something you can look forward to, he said.
In becoming relaxed, you are now able to see obstacles, like midterms, from a different perspective, he said.
“This is more motivation and push than if you just went into the situation stressed,” Kermiet said.
In overcoming a stressful time in your life, Kermiet said to write down how you got through it in a journal or someplace you see everyday.
“You are showing yourself how you got through a really stressful and rough time in your life,” he said.
Whenever you are in a stressful situation, always remember to go take a look at how you pushed through, he said.
“It’s seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, the healthy way,” Kermiet said.
“When I get stressed I can always go for a run around MSU’s campus, especially by the Red Cedar (River),” said Grosse,
When he runs, Grosse listens to different types of music depending on how stressed he is, Grosse said.
Almost 95 percent of students asked around campus through Facebook posts on the MSU Class Pages said that working out was their way of relieving stress.
Kermiet said, exercise is a form of relaxation that is an escapism, a distraction and relief from unpleasant realities or stressors.
“Exercise is very effective,” he said.
Allison Arend, MSU alumna, said that she always remembers the long, stressful nights at the library during her undergrad.
When she felt stressed, she would always go down to the the Red Cedar and feed the ducks before going to the library to start her studying, Arend said.
Even though she has entered the real world, Arend still uses the stress management skills she made in college as a middle school teacher by keeping a detailed planner and taking her dog for a walk each evening on the shore of Lake Michigan to de-stress.
“It’s nothing compared to the atmosphere of feeding the ducks on campus, but I have found a new niche, and with the new niche comes new ways to relax and de-stress on the beautiful lake,” Arend said.
“Find a stress reliever that works for you, and sleep, remember to sleep,” said Arend. “I think I am still making up the sleep I missed in college.”