Stay healthy during finals for more A’s

Tony Gorder

Tony Gorder

The ominous week of finals rapidly approaches, and for many students, it is a time of cramming, late nights and excessive caffeine consumption – an overall stressful experience.

“Sometimes I cry,” said Amber Gross, a senior nursing major.

“I get stressed out a lot,” said Shradha Paudel, a junior civil engineering major from Nepal. “I wake up all night and dream about the exams.”

For students, consistent schedules are key in surviving finals.

“One of the most important things is maintaining a healthy routine,” said Lisa Otterson, College of General Studies instructor and academic adviser.

That includes eating healthy foods, exercising and getting enough sleep.

“Sleep provides an opportunity for our minds and bodies to refresh and reset,” said Debra Johnson, clinical counseling supervisor at Student Health and Counseling Services. “[Not getting enough sleep] results in poor memory, difficulties in concentration, diminished judgment and overall reduced academic performance.”

Students who drink caffeinated beverages may get a boost, but the drinks have their disadvantages.

“Having a lot of sugar can cause you to have an increase in energy followed by an energy low,” said Jessica Remington, SDSU dietitian. “Caffeine can make you feel jittery and not allow you to sleep when you really need to. So as with everything, use both in moderation.”

Healthy eating in general is suggested.

“Try to choose balanced meals. Include a variety of foods at most meals such as grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables and dairy. If you are a person who needs snacks throughout the day, plan for healthy snacks,” said Remington. “Try to include a protein in the snack to keep your energy level up. Examples of good proteins to include in a snack are low fat cheese, peanut butter, beef jerky, hard boiled eggs, nuts, cottage cheese, yogurt or milk.”

Exercise can also help; it relieves pressure, improves concentration and refocuses the mind and body, said Johnson.

Some other tips for dealing with stress include structuring and prioritizing time, breaking projects in small increments, scheduling a balance of fun and work and planning a fun reward when big projects or exams are completed.

Dressing for success is also important.

“Proper grooming can make you feel like yourself, even if you’re stressed or tired,” said Otterson.

When it comes to studying, students should not necessarily cram.

“Think about studying as draining information out, rather than stuffing it in,” said Otterson. “Students should also detach from issues that are emotionally charged for them: relationships, life issues, expectations of grades, expectation of goals – anything that gets in the way.”

Otterson said students who would like more help with their studies should take advantage of the Wintrode Student Success Center’s tutoring program, the Math Help Center and TRiO Success Center.