Service offers advice for finals week sufferers

Christie Sueker

Procrastination is defined in Webster’s Pocket Dictionary as, “To put off to a future time.”
As University of Minnesota students enter finals week, time management becomes not just an issue, but a matter of sink or swim.
“That’s what you learn in college — procrastination,” University student Ruby Diaz said.
“In general people seem more crowded for time in the 1990s, particularly students,” said Glenn Hirsch, coordinator of counseling programs at University Counseling and Consulting Services.
A counselor for 15 years, Hirsch said student procrastination problems are common, but the University of Minnesota has problems all its own. “I think students in any system feel time-pressured. In addition to that, the quarter system adds to that pressure.”
Many students are experiencing that pressure right now. “I get through finals week by drinking coffee by the pot,” junior English major Jeff Barbian said. Chemistry graduate student Pete Greuel said he doesn’t shower during finals week.
Sophomore sociology major Anthony Romani shuts out the outside world during finals week to relieve stress. “I don’t call home, and I don’t take calls from anyone during finals,” Romani said.
Counseling service web pages of universities across the United States offer tips for students who need help with academic stress. A few tips are:
ù Improve memory by keeping homework organized.
ù Improve concentration by finding a comfortable study spot, free from distractions.
Remember to take deep breaths during tests and relax. Deep breathing can keep stressed students from fainting, and help them think more clearly.
Students tend to neglect their bodies during finals week. Time management researchers and counselors stress the importance of diet, exercise and sleep during high-stress stages.
“I exercise more…to get my adrenaline going,” marketing graduate student Giana Eckhardt said.
Neglecting even one health area can result in low energy levels, reducing successful outcomes from finals.
ù Practice with prioritizing is also important in reducing finals stress.
Hirsch suggested a three-part list to help students manage finals week.
“The first step is to make a list of things that need to be done to get through finals. The second step is to prioritize that list. The final step is to put off non-essential activities,” Hirsch said.
Non-essential activities among students vary, Hirsch said. “Some students use finals time to get dishes done from the whole quarter.”
ù Students need to be rational about the significance of finals week. What will this test mean ten years from now? Is this test a life-or-death affair?
Hirsch concluded, “Usually there is more material in a class than students have time to study.” Hirsch said students should figure out what their most important classroom material is, spend 80 percent of their time on that, and spend 20 percent on other information.
Chronic procrastinators can attend anti-procrastination seminars offered every quarter by University Counseling and Consulting Services located in Eddy Hall. The next anti-procrastination seminar will be offered this fall. Individual academic counseling is also available.