The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

The Student News Site of Central Oregon Community College

The Broadside

Stress during the holiday season: Three ways to balance school with life and succeed in finals

Graphic+by+Miina+McCown
Graphic by Miina McCown

Not only are finals happening, but so are some major holidays for most college students. The intensity of final exams, perhaps traveling home to reunite with family and seeing relatives for holiday celebrations may feel like a stressful buildup that seems to occur all at once. While the holidays and the end of the term should supposedly be a joyful time for students, much of it can feel like added stress to our already busy lives.

Luckily, there are healthy and productive ways to combat feelings of distress and anxiety during the holidays, exam season or at any time. The Broadside spoke with Central Oregon Community College students and staff for their input on how they manage their stress at this time of year.

 

1. Go outside

According to the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association, going out into nature has many factors in contributing to reducing feelings of stress and anxiety. Spending time out in nature has shown to aid in energizing both your mind and body, helping you to feel less fatigued, uninspired or burned out.

Michael Cooper, a writing instructor at both COCC and Oregon State University-Cascades, voiced the importance of utilizing the outdoors when de-stressing.

“We are so fortunate to be in Central Oregon. Go outside. Literally just step outside your door. Breathe. Exercise is good. COCC has lots of fitness classes, and OSUC has PACs. Meditate. Hang out with friends or family,” he said.

COCC also offers many HHP (Health and Human Performance) classes, including many outdoor leadership courses, as well as offers a tennis court and fields for students to use.

 

2. Remember why you started

College is a time for growth and opportunity, however many students can often find themselves feeling lost or hopeless amidst the whirlwind of finals week and other stressors. An effective way to combat this may be to take a step back and reflect on why you are pursuing your college journey, either internally or with a guidance counselor.

“I think we put a lot of undue stress on ourselves [by] projecting the importance of schoolwork and our responsibilities during the holidays, especially when we’re new to college,” said Cooper.

“Rather than thinking about competition and where we are on the grade scale or compared to the person next to us, this is a time to figure out who we are and how we want to be in the world. I think it’s important to remember that we’re all different and we have different needs and interests,” he added.

College is a time for many students to discover themselves and what they would like to pursue in life, and at the same time, to not be too hard on themselves and accept failure when it comes.

“Personally, I failed a few classes, took a semester or two off, and changed my major halfway through, and I’m quite happy about my life and career,” Cooper added.

COCC provides a personal counseling service, in person at the Bend campus or remotely, to students enrolled in at least one credit. Click here for more details.

 

Student Kyra Underwood taking advantage of one of Wickiup Hall’s study rooms. (Lindsay Pace)

 

3. Connect with friends

For many students returning home for the holidays, there can be stress involved with the process of traveling home in the midst of finals week. Karli Britton, a massage therapy student at COCC, talked about her stress and nervousness about finals and the coming Christmas season.

“I’m really excited to go home but also stressed about packing and not leaving when I need to do a final online,” Britton said.

Britton said that she finds herself being stressed about work as well.

“I’m super excited for Christmas break and to be home with family, but I have work up here, so I’ve been trying to find people to cover my shifts while I’m home because we can’t be in the dorms [without paying a lot of money], which is hard. I feel like with the seasonal depression, I feel like I’m a fairly happy person but since being here and not home… I feel like I don’t have any chores up here so I don’t feel like I have anything holding me responsible for anything,” she said.

Something that may be beneficial for students in the same position is to connect with peers. Since many students go through similar experiences such as these during finals week, it is beneficial to talk it out with a fellow student or friend.

Karli’s advice to her peers and fellow students would be to call or FaceTime some friends to catch up or study with you.

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About the Contributors
Miina McCown, Editor in chief
Miina McCown is editor in chief of The Broadside.
Lindsay Pace, Staff photographer
Lindsay Pace is a staff photographer for The Broadside. Pace is a baking and pastry arts major at COCC.

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