As Finals Week Approaches, Cedarville Students Find Different Ways to Cope with Stress

by Michael Cleverley

As finals week draws near, assignments pile on top of each other. The things that need to be accomplished are overwhelming and cause students stress. So how do we handle stress in a way that is healthy and helps us finish everything?

“The person appraises it,” Cedarville Professor of Psychology Dr. Kristin DeWitt said. “What am I going to do with it? Is it going to strengthen me or is it going to cause me to become bitter?”

There are various ways to think about stress. Simply meditating on the Bible is an important way to change our mindset on stress. Super senior Daniel Jones reads Ecclesiastes and Psalms.

“Both Ecclesiastes and the Psalms remind me, from both a human and biblical perspective, that people have been stressed before. People have thought the world is ending before, and yet God remains good. And there’s a purpose in all of this,” said Jones.

Sophomore Charis Chen writes a thankfulness journal and creates a year in pixels to help cope with stress. A thankfulness journal doesn’t need to be neat or in an orderly sequence. A bulleted list is the best way to write whatever comes to mind, allowing you to get everything out.

The year in pixels is a grid with each square representing a day, and you fill out the grid based on your mood. Instead of her emotions, Chen records her thankfulness. She combined this with the thankfulness journal, and she fills many of her days with purple, the color she chose for gratitude. When she looked back over the year, she saw that, although it was a difficult year, God gave her many things to be thankful for.

There are also activities that you can do that help relieve stress. Jones recommends intentionally taking time off during the week to do things you enjoy. He tries to take a day off every week to simply relax. Some of his activities include playing board games with friends, reading the Bible or playing video games. Jones also schedules meals with people to talk with them.

Chen, however, doesn’t have much time to take breaks from work. So she’ll jog in place, do jumping jacks or take a walk. Other times she’ll eat at Chuck’s alone to do some homework and take a break. Chen also says that taking naps throughout the day helps. Most of the time, she finds relief from stress through spontaneous conversation with friends and hallmates. 

There are also ways to control stress. One is time management. Jones recommends two different ways to tackle assignments with due dates close to each other. The first method is to start early and focus on one assignment at a time so you have the satisfaction of checking the assignment off the list and getting it out of the way.

Second is to jump between assignments when you get tired of working on one. You still finish them all in a timely manner. Depending on the situation one strategy may work better than the other, but he recommends starting assignments early.

Chen has some situational strategies that also depend on the situation. She recommends planning in general instead of leaving it to chance, so you can avoid all-nighters. She sometimes plans everything out by the day or hour, depending on if she needs to find time to do assignments. However, if she’s overwhelmed and can’t process everything, she focuses on one thing at a time.

“The more work you make yourself do, the more stressed you get as well,” said Chen. “It all boils down to managing your energy as well as you can.”

Michael Cleverley is a junior Journalism major with an Asian Studies minor and writer for Cedars. When not studying or working on a story for Cedars, he likes to write, knit and hang out with friends.

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