Midterm Stress

    It’s that time of the year again. Students are in Geisel Library until the wee hours of the morning, chugging dangerously high amounts of caffeine. Freshmen begin to realize that college is more than waking up at noon, hanging out with their suitemates and ignoring text messages from parents. From first-quarter freshmen to seasoned veterans of the quarter system, no one truly gets used to midterms. Taking a full load of classes, joining clubs, working and balancing a social life in college can be overwhelming — a fact made more evident during the midterm sludge of Week Five. But the stress caused by these overwhelming feelings can be avoided.

    While stress is a completely normal response to midterms, it can have negative effects on one’s health and school performance.  In 2010, the National College Health Assessment found that students reported stress to be the number one impediment to academic performances at UCSD. Stress causes low energy, poor concentration, difficulty sleeping, short temper, increase in blood pressure and a multitude of other physical and emotional problems.  

    Stress is preventable, and, for UCSD students, there are several wellness programs that are available to de-stress and feel healthier. One of these resources is the Zone, a lounge for student’s mental, physical and emotional health. It offers free wellbeing-related programs and is located in Price Center, next to Jamba Juice.

    One of the programs the Zone offers students to relieve stress is the Resources and Relaxation (R&R) Squad. This is a program sponsored by UCSD Student Health Advocates and is offered three times a week. It provides low-intensity back rubs to relieve the tension and stress that people carry in their shoulders and back.

    Another program to reduce stress is Therapy Fluffies. Love on a Leash, a foundation for pet-fueled therapy, brings three therapy-trained dogs to the Zone during the week. Studies have shown that petting dogs reduces stress and makes people happier.

    No matter how many hours someone has studied or how prepared he might think he is, the hour right before the midterm can lead to increased levels of stress.

    “Meditate and focus on yourself right before you are about to take a midterm,” The Zone’s Wellness Programing Assistant Debbie Kim said. “You can just come into the Zone in between breaks or right before your midterm and meditate or do yoga. Other techniques are listening to music right before taking midterms, taking walks to the lecture hall and taking deep, yoga breaths before the professor hands out the test.”

    Increased stress can also lead to instances of poor eating. All nighters often cause students to choose what’s easiest and satisfying, which isn’t always the healthiest choice. Instead of binging on fatty foods while studying, try grabbing some fruit from one of the markets on campus. Fruits, like apples and bananas, are healthier, fewer calories and more filling. The Zone has that covered.   

    “The Zone offers Tasty Tuesdays which is a cooking demonstration led by UCSD Recreation Dietitian who teaches you what to eat and what not to eat and the nutritional information in certain foods,” said Kim.

    In extreme instances, stress gets out of hand and starts disrupting daily life. Kim sugested taking some time out of your day to reflect on stress. Going into the Zone in between breaks, using Counseling and Psychological Services or going to Student Health is also recommended. CAPS even has a 24-hour phone service in case of emergencies.

    If a student questions whether his stress is getting out of hand, he can test his stress levels by using a program offered at CAPS called Biofeedback.

    “Biofeedback is a program done by CAPS wellness peers that measures your heart rate and determines your level of stress,” said Kim.

    If a student’s stress levels are impeding his health, CAPS will recommend seeing a physician at Student Health Services.

    Despite the stress one feels about midterms, there are always programs and techniques available to de-stress. Kim believes that the key to overcoming stress when it comes to midterms is living a balanced life. Make time for friends, work, studying and most importantly health. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal