By MEG DeMARIA
For most students the last week of classes are the most stressful time of the academic year, and the University of Mary Washington has set forth initiatives to help students cope.
“Usually, final exams is a time when students have more exams in fewer days than at any other point in the semester. Further, many of those exams are cumulative, which only increases the stress,” said Tevya Zukor, director of Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS).
Options for students who need a break from the stress of finals include CAPS counseling services, extended gym hours and Office of Student Activities and Community Services sponsored events.
CAPS provides individual and group counseling services to full-time, undergraduate, degree-seeking students enrolled on the Fredericksburg campus.
“We tend to see a significant increase in demand for services in the weeks leading up to final exams,” Zukor said. As stress increases, so does psychological distress. Stress often exacerbates anxiety and depression for those students who are already confronting such issues. Final exams can also be difficult for students without such predisposition.”
“It’s especially stressful this year, because it’s my senior year and I’m applying to grad schools,” said senior Melanie Rossignol. “Every grade that I get counts and could effect the rest of my life and career.”
Zukor suggests that students feeling stressed remember the importance of self-care.
Spending time with family and friends, in person or over the phone, is one of his top suggestions. Also, instead of constantly studying, Zukor suggests blocking out study time.
Relaxation techniques are another way of relieving stress.
Zukor stated, “For each minute that people are practicing relaxation, it is another minute that they are not experiencing stress. To be effective, relaxation techniques can be brief. The CAPS website has a number of audio relaxation techniques that are available for download. I encourage students to visit CAPS online and take advantage.”
Zukor also emphasizes the importance of taking time for lunch with friends, exercise, or watching a movie.
“I go to the gym when I feel really stressed. It’s relaxing after studying for a while. I just want to move around and get rid of some of my energy,” said senior Kevin Hamerski.
The gym remains open during reading days December 4th and 5th from 12pm to 5pm and exam days Dec. 6-9 from 7a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
In addition to CAPS services, OSACS will be hosting their Stress Free Zone in the Great Hall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6 through Wed., Dec. 8.
The Stress Free Zone is free to all students and there is no sign up necessary. In the Stress Free Zone there will be a plethora of stress relieving activities such as Play-Doh, coloring, Sudoku, and ornament making. There will also be plenty of food, snacks, and beverages.
“I love the stress free zone, it actually works for me. I went last year after my hardest exam and colored. It sounds silly, but it really made me feel better,” said senior Gracie Ofslager.