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Sunday, March 7, 2021


COVID-19 adds to finals season stress, students say

The coronavirus has added to some students’ finals  season stress by forcing exams into a less-preferred virtual format. | Gerald Sastra/The Cougar

Students have not only had to adjust to remote learning during the pandemic, but also potentially unfamiliar virtual test-taking.

With the semester winding down and finals season in full swing, the stress of exam day is compounded by COVID-19.

“Despite the semester seemingly turned upside down due to COVID, with classes and finals looking a little different compared to years past, students should remember to treat the finals this semester like every other semester,” said CAPS clinician David Ranschaert.

For some students, sitting for final exams online is not their preferred method for test-taking. This includes hotel and restaurant management junior Ovlia Betka.

 “I think it is better to have (the) test in class, but we haven’t had in person class all semester. I think there are a lot of students on campus frustrated with online finals and having them back to back,” Betka said.  

For other students, including psychology sophomore Zane Shamsher, they feel that professors ought to be more mindful when scheduling their finals.

“I think it would be nice if the professors here would be a little more coordinated about handling finals, due to it being difficult for some students to take finals during a certain time,” Shamsher said.  

Although taking a final might be stressful, studying doesn’t have to be. When studying, Ranschaert advises giving yourself plenty of time, avoiding late-night cram sessions and seeking additional support from a tutor if needed.

“They should take a break when they feel like they need one! If you feel tired, take a short break (15-20 minutes) and come back to it,” Ranschaert said.

“Be realistic about your breaks, and firm with the break times! If you know that you easily fall down YouTube or Tiktok rabbit holes, maybe stay away from those apps when on break and set an alarm to let you know when break time is up, and give yourself a small treat for when you meet your study or writing goals,” Ranschaert added. 

Once finals season has finished, Ranschaert said using a video conferencing platform like Zoom or Skype can be a good way to connect with friends or to find a creative way to play games. Ranschaert also suggests solo activities for more active students including yoga, meditation and walking or running.

For industrial engineering senior Noel Varghese, the pandemic has changed how they relax and recharge.

“I have been a sportaholic for most of my years, but COVID and life in general have made me return to indoor activities,” Varghese said. “I attend Bible study groups online with Bridges International, which has helped me build relations. I play board games to learn strategy, read about interesting subjects and listen to music.”

Students looking for stress management tips can also check out UH’s Stress Free Finals webpage that includes movies, online museum tours and a free guided meditation app. 

“Students should remember that although the format of their finals may be different and schedules may be a little more fluid than years past, the finals should be handled similarly,” Ranschaert said. “Students will have to give themselves plenty of time to study or write, and remember to balance the academic demands with other areas of their life such as work or family.” 

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here

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