10 Tips for Coping with Finals Stress

Finals are upon us, which means as a student you’re probably experiencing an increased level of stress trying to wrap up your projects and study for your exams. While increased levels of stress are normal this time of year, we have put together some strategies you can use to decrease the stress that studying and test-taking can cause, as well as some tips for coping with the stress that you may experience.

  1. Pray. There is power in prayer. Now, prayer isn’t a cop-out. Staying up all night to play video games and asking God to help you do well on your final the next day probably isn’t going to work. But if you put in the work of studying, and ask God to help you remember what you studied and to calm your nerves, He will help. Start with prayer. It makes everything else go better.
  2. Take a breath. Finals can be overwhelming, especially when you allow your brain to run 100 miles an hour. It seems simple, but a few deep breathes can do wonders for slowing down your mind and calming your nerves.
  3. Make a list. Write down everything you need to do—studying, laundry, sleep, papers to write—and cross items off when you’ve accomplished them. Sometimes just having the overall view of everything you need to do can help alleviate your stress. Plus, you’re less likely to forget an assignment when it’s written down.
  4. Create a study schedule. There will be some exams you need extra time to study for, and others you won’t need to study nearly as much. Make a schedule of your week, when you can study, when you need to sleep and eat, and plug in what exam you need to study for. It will help you feel less overwhelmed.
  5. Get some sleep. Contrary to popular belief, pulling an all-nighter will NOT help you do better on your exam. When you’re tired and run down, your brain doesn’t function at full capacity—meaning you’re going into the exam with less brain power, and are likely to do worse on the exam. Get your sleep. You’ll do better.
  6. Eat healthy. Cans of energy drinks, junk food, and late night pizza won’t fuel your brain, let alone your body. Grab some healthy snacks—fruit, veggies, whole grain crackers. The better you eat, the better you will feel, and the more energy you can put towards remembering everything you’re studying.
  7. Limit your time on social media. Checking updates on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and responding to all those SnapChats of your friends’ stressed out faces can be fun, but if you’re not careful, you can waste hours on social media. Limit your time on the internet during finals and put it towards studying.
  8. Exercise. Taking 30 minutes out of your day to get in some exercise will help improve blood flow to your brain and make you more alert and remember more of what you’re studying. It’s not a huge time investment, but can reap a huge reward!
  9. Do something fun. One hour out of your day won’t kill your grades. Go do something fun. Read a book. Go for a walk. Play a video game. Go out to eat with your friends. It’s a great way to reduce stress and get your mind off of what needs to be done. It may even give you a fresh perspective on that subject you’re studying.
  10. If all else fails, yell! That’s right, I said yell. There’s something incredibly relieving in letting out a good ol’ fashioned yell. It will relieve your stress, make you feel like a weight has been lifted off, and if you time it just right, you may cause your roommate to jump…giving you both a good laugh. Disclaimer: don’t yell in the library. They may frown upon that.

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The Names of God

I was reading through the Old Testament this past week and I found a Scripture that caught my eye. I was gearing up for Christmas, so I had sought out some old favorite Scriptures in the Old Testament that, I believe, point forward to the coming of Christ. Isaiah has a lot to say about Christ, and so naturally that book was the first one that I turned to. In Isaiah 9:6, it reads:

“For to us a child is born,
To us a son is given,
And the government will be on His shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

This verse is usually used to connect the Old Testament to the New through Christ. I made a mental note of this and almost turned away when the names of God at the end of the verse caught my attention. These four names are given to Christ, and yet I had only ever acknowledged them – I had never consciously thought about what they meant.

As Wonderful Counselor, Christ offers guidance and direction to our lives. He is ready and willing to show us His plan and how to prosper, if we will only seek Him. His advice is extraordinary, it is astounding, and it is full of Him. When we need it, He simply listens to our cries. He is our Wonderful Counselor.

As Mighty God, Christ saves us from disaster and fends off our enemies. He is all-powerful and guards us on all sides. He will protect you from the things that seek to destroy you and He will lift you up when times are hard. He hears your crying during times of trouble and sweeps in like a mighty wave to save you. He is our Mighty god.

As Everlasting Father, Christ is always with us. Even when we cannot feel Him, He is still by our side. He never leaves, He never falters, He never fails. He is faithful, and is always ready for us. He existed before us and promises to take us into forever with Him. He is our Everlasting Father.

Finally, as Prince of Peace, Christ calms our hearts and minds. When our minds are tossed by the busy-ness of the world, He brings us rest. When our hearts are torn and mangled by the ones we love, He grants us healing. In the stormiest of days, He whispers peace into our souls. He is our Prince of Peace.

As Christmas approaches, remember who Christ is. Remember who He is to you now, and all that He can, and wants, to be. He came into this world to save you. And you can call Him Marvelous Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.