It’s no secret that college students are constantly stressed from studying for exams and pulling all-nighters in the library. Unfortunately, things only tend to get worse during the last few weeks of the semester as exams loom closer. Instead of watching from afar, there are several ways you can help your stressed student during this trying time. Below you’ll find 5 ways that you can help the college student in your life survive and thrive during finals week.
1. Remind them to Eat, Sleep, and Exercise
In the mind of a college student, everything besides studying is pushed aside in preparation for finals week. It’s very easy to forget to eat a meal or to accidentally spend all night in the library when you have 7 exams, 3 presentations, and an essay that are all due in the same week. Due to this massive amount of work, many students feel as though there isn’t enough time in the day to take care of themselves and study.
You can help this negative thinking by gently reminding them about the importance of getting eight hours of sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, going to the gym, etc. Parents can encourage their students to manage their time wisely prior to finals to ensure they are taking care of the necessities while also finishing that 12-page essay on time.
2. Encourage Early Studying & Study Breaks
Every college student is guilty of putting off studying until the night before the exam and end up pulling an all-nighter. This is never a good idea, especially because these last-minute study sessions almost never pay off. Instead, you can try encouraging your student to study early and to plan their time wisely (for example, they could plan to study two chapters a day in the weeks leading up to the big test instead of saving everything for the night before.)
It’s also vital to encourage busy students to take study breaks, although this may seem counter-productive at first. Everyone needs a break now and then! This is especially true for college students who are spending hours in the library, slaving over a Chemistry textbook. Study breaks can include activities such as power naps, a short walk in the outdoors, a drive to a nearby store to get their favorite snack, a few minutes devoted to playing their favorite video game, etc. These short breaks will allow students to let off steam which will leave them feeling rejuvenated and able to refocus on their studies.
3. Know when to Take a Step Back
Answering non-stop texts and phone calls from their parents will definitely keep your student away from studying. It’s vital to know when to take a step back and, as difficult as it might be, allow them to sink or swim on their own. This is definitely a frustrating experience and it isn’t easy for many parents to let go, especially when they know that their children are stressed.
However, this will teach your student the hard-learned lesson of knowing how to budget their time wisely. Not to mention, it will also bring the realization that they need to put boundaries on their social life, or their academics will suffer.
4. Encourage Mindfulness
When your student calls you and is upset over the amount of work they need to finish - stay calm! Your children often feed off your reaction to bad news and a negative response will only make them feel more overwhelmed. Instead of launching into a lecture about responsibility, you can help by staying calm and reassuring them. Parents can start by saying that their stress is normal and that other students are probably going through a similarly taxing experience during finals week. Then, you will be able to walk them through some studying strategies that could help their situation.
When their stress starts to climb, you can encourage them to look into calming techniques such as meditation or mindfulness. Mindfulness is often used as a therapeutic technique and is defined as, “the practice of bringing one’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present moment.” Many universities also offer free meditation sessions during finals week to reduce the stress that you can recommend to your stressed-out student.
5. Send them a Surprise Gift!
A final way to help your stressed students is to send them a gift that will lift their spirits during this hectic time. One perfect present is a College Care Package from Giftbasket.com. This care package contains all the snacks, treats, candies, and junk food that a college student could want. Food and treats are always appreciated by students during finals week because they are constantly eating at odd hours of the day and often don’t have time to cook a proper meal for themselves. Not to mention, it will also remind them of home and reassure them they have a strong support network waiting for them. A care package such as this is also the perfect celebratory gift for when finals are finally over and done with.