exam stress

4 Ways of How Not to Handle Exam Stress

By: Karen Bier-Hobbs

The least enjoyable part of the semester is now upon us – the long stretch of time between midterms and finals that is filled with exams, papers, projects, and plenty of stress. Successfully handling that stress so you can get to the end of the semester with decent grades and an intact sanity is the subject of many advice columns. The suggestions are common sense: eat right, get as much sleep as you can, study well but skip the panicking, exercise or otherwise find outlets for energy release, take hot baths or showers to relax: Healthy Living 101.

But reading about those things and doing them are two different things. When most of us get stressed out, we don’t reach for the kale, we pop open the Cheetos. It’s hard not to pull an all-nighter if a deadline is pressing and time has run out, even if we know that lack of sleep can sabotage our mental faculties. Many people don’t feel like running after a busy day of work and paper writing. They just want to play video games or unwind with a cheesy novel.

For these people we will hold up the other end of the spectrum of midterm behavior. If you haven’t done the following as a result of midterm stress, in some way you are #winning.

  • Riot because you can’t go on spring break and require the police to teargas you and your fellow hooligans.This happened in Kenya in 2012 and seven schools had to be shut down. Bonus points if you have never made a homemade bomb and secreted it in your room.
  • Drag your dorm room furniture out in the street and set it on fire. Then, when the firemen come to put the blaze out, pelt them with glass bottles and cans. Kutztown University in Pennsylvania saw this happen in 1990.
  • Take a class on “Politics of the 1960s” and then protest the midterm because it’s stupid and hypocritical. In 1996 a group of students did just this at Lehigh University. (And they sort of got away with it if you call writing a 7-10 page paper instead of taking an exam “getting away with it.”)
  • Cheat in large groups of, say, 200 students. The downside of this 2010 University of Central Florida scandal was that all of the students, even the ones who did not cheat were required to take another, alternate exam.

If you’ve not participated in any of the previously mentioned stress relievers, consider yourself good. Better than some, at least. Eat a Snickers bar, put your feet in a hot bath, and then go study some more and see if you can ace those exams. Good luck from us at Meadows Crossing, off-campus apartments near GVSU.

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