With final exam week approaching, many students may experience stress and anxiety.
Stress for college students might seem inevitable. According to a 2012 survey report from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 73 percent of college students surveyed answered yes when asked if they had experienced a mental health crisis while in college.
Because Florida A&M’s Office of Counseling Services understands that the week before finals can be crazy, it sponsored “Stressing-Out Week,” which ended Thursday. Free back massages, T-shirts, Zumba and gourmet Italian ice were offered to students, faculty and staff as an end-of-the-year treat.
Quantina Washington, assistant director of clinical programs, said stress deriving from school is ranked highly among stressors for college-age students.
“Academic, financial and relationships tend to be the biggest stressors for students,” Washington said.
Washington, along with other counselors at OCS, advises students who are scrambling to finish papers and preparing for exams to keep calm and study smart and hard.
According to Washington, many students also have become victims of test anxiety.
Imani Pelt, a second-year pre-pharmacy student from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said she deals with test anxiety and believes it comes from being stressed from the course.
“I have really bad test anxiety,” Pelt said. “I know the information, but before the test I go through a state of panic and everything leaves my brain.”
Test anxiety can be caused by many factors in addition to stress. Yolanda Bogan, director of OCS, said the anxieties stem from insecurities students already have.
“A lot of students are not confident in their intellectual abilities,” Bogan said.
She has two tips for students who are preparing for exams: active learning strategies and simulating activities.
“Make sure you know the material, and take advantage of the test banks in the back of your textbook,” Bogan said.
Jeva St. Fore, a graduate community psychology student from Miami, said receiving encouragement from her friends and peers aid her in managing the stress.
“Support system,” St. Fore began. “ [You] got to have your crew ‘cause you have to have your motivators.”
Marquis Stewart, an OCS counselor, suggested that students visualize a place that makes them feel at ease when feeling overloaded and stressed.
“Doing things that promote relaxation, like finding your happy place to feel free,” Stewart said. “If you like going to the beach, then download waves’ sound to create the atmosphere.”
More tips for managing stress are: journaling, exercising, participating in counseling and/or discussion groups, sleeping and having balanced meals.
“Being organized and managing your time are keys to reducing your stress,” Washington said. “If you invest that time into yourself, it will allow you to be focused.”
For more information about the 2012 National Alliance on Mental Illness College Students Speak: A Survey Report, visit http://www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Find_Support/NAMI_on_Campus1/collegereport.pdf