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By Emily Carson ’14
Hold on to your fun hats — finals week is here.
St. Bonaventure University staff members offered their thoughts on staying calm, collected and successful during the sometimes stressful end-of-semester panic.
Roger Keener, Ed. D., director of the Center for Student Wellness, said students should continue their usual semester-long stress management regiment.
“I think anytime students are under stress they forget what works,” he said. “Take some breaks or time away, and breathe.”
Keener said the key to success is creating a structured study plan. Plan to work, but also build in break and relaxation times.
“That could include watching a movie, reading a book, exercising or socializing with friends in appropriate ways,” he said. “I think a lot students try to cram and overwork and become exhausted because they don’t get the proper rest and relaxation. That exasperates the stress.”
Keener said that a relaxation period before going to sleep is especially important, lasting for at least an hour.
“When students study up until going to sleep, they are wound up because they haven’t had any down time,” he said. “I always stress that rest is valuable to sleep. It is the precursor to sleep.”
The recommended eight hours of sleep still applies during finals week, and students should plan for it, Keener said.
“Studies show that the best hours of sleep come before 12 a.m.,” he said. “It is really about setting up an effective program that is going to work for you.”
Self-care is also important, especially for students dealing with a mental or physical illness.
“Students need to take care of themselves in general with the proper rest and medication, just like they would if they had a cold,” he said.
Keener recommends making a “gratitude list” at the end of each day.
“Students get stressed over things they haven’t accomplished yet. Make a list in your mind of what went well,” he said. “Don’t think about what you have to do to tomorrow, but how good you feel now. Be in the present moment.”
Keener also advises students not to skip meals, but to plan for them instead.
“Eat healthy foods as much as possible and structure eating into your schedule,” he said. “Watch what you are putting in your body in terms of stimulants, like caffeine and sugar.”
Rob DeFazio, director of the Center for Activities, Recreation and Leadership, encourages students to take advantage of the Richter Center during finals week.
“The Richter Center is open until midnight each night, so we encourage students to at least come up and use the track to take a walk with a friend or listen to music to get their thoughts off finals,” he said.
Staying active during long study sessions is imperative. If you can’t make it to the gym, DeFazio offered quick exercises for students to do while studying in their dorm rooms.
“Sit on the floor and reach for your toes, with either your legs together or apart. This will help stretch the hamstrings and the lower back which could tighten from sitting too long,” he said. “Push-ups are also good as they will help get the blood flowing throughout the body and help to wake your muscles up.”
Areas delegated as study spaces on campus include Murphy 102, 103, 105, 107, De La Roche 118, Plassmann Hall first-floor student lounge, 103 (honors lounge), 159, common area of the Swan School of Business, Francis 123, University Ministries, University Chapel, Café LaVerna (space only, no food or beverage after closing time), first-floor computer lounge of Robinson, Reilly Center second-floor Commuter Student Lounge and Veterans Lounge, and “The Loft” on the third floor of the Quick Center for the Arts until 2 a.m.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. We are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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