Do good grades come at the expense of good health? As finals week rolls around, students find themselves knee-deep in study materials and stress, which can have an adverse effect on their overall health.
Students who over-stress about final exams and projects often do not get the recommended amount of sleep due to pulling all-night study sessions. In addition, increased stress can cause students to get sick, which can affect their overall health and success. Students also tend to skip or forget to eat meals during finals. When the time comes that they do remember to eat, they
tend to grab something quick, easy and often unhealthy in order to maximize study time. Students seek comfort in sweets and start these long days with energy drinks, which have been linked to heart and neurological problems.
Here’s how your university can help students maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health through finals week.
Help Students Build Good Study Habits
Many health concerns are the result of improper study habits before tests and paper due dates. Cramming a ten page paper or staying up until 4:00am the day before the test can have truly detrimental health effects and decrease the likelihood that students will retain information long-term.
Encourage professors to make study groups and office hours available throughout the semester so students have the chance to absorb information at a regular rate. In addition, university writing centers can offer peer review opportunities for students so they have time to revise their papers.
Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
College and university nurses can offer flu shots to students, often at a reasonable price. If students are already ill sometimes the staff nurse can treat these students or recommend a nearby doctor. Campuses can also keep students healthy by providing healthy meal options in the dining hall and encouraging use of the university athletic facility.
Enforce Quiet Hours in the Dorms
Sleep is essential to a healthy mind and body, but a loud environment can make a good night’s sleep near to impossible. Since students finish their finals at different times of the week, early finishers may get rowdy and keep students with finals later in the week from sleeping. Quiet hours ensure that all students have equal opportunities to get the sleep—and grades—they need.
Provide Support & Mental Health Services
Professors and other staff members can provide organized study sessions as well as study breaks in order to help students schedule and prioritize tasks. In doing so, students will feel supported and organized, which will reduce stress and help their mental health.
It’s also a good idea to emphasize your university’s mental health services during finals week. That way, students know that they can have a reliable support network to help them through any anxiety or depression they may be experiencing.
Host Stress Relieving Activities
To help the emotional health of your students, consider providing student involvement programs that will alleviate stress from the lives of students. Some colleges offer massages to students while others bring in therapy dogs for students to pet as a form of stress relief.
Emphasize Regular Schedules
For many students, part of alleviating stress during finals week is keeping a consistent schedule. That way, they know their plans for the day and can prioritize tasks. Athletic activities, fitness classes, and other clubs should still stick to their “normal” schedule to maintain daily routines and create diversion from the stressful times.