Students have many resources available to them during Finals Week at Iowa State.
There are places on campus to go for help with assignments or for people to talk to when the academic workload becomes stressful.
It can be hard to deal with the stress that comes with preparing for final exams and projects. Students are also looking forward to the holiday season and plans after finals, which can add to the pressure of finals.
Mike Gaul is the director of career placement for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Administration. Gaul said students need to be aware that Finals Week will be demanding.
“There’s so much on the plate at this time of the year,” Gaul said. “Whether you’re dealing with year-end projects for classes, with final exams, with the pressure of ‘I’ve still got to find an internship or a job.’ And the holidays are here too.”
Gaul’s advice for students to alleviate this pressure is to find balance between academics and taking care of themselves.
“I think the most important things students can do this time of year is just pace themselves,” Gaul said. “Find time to come up for air and have some 'me' time. Do something that is a stress reliever in a positive way that help takes your mind off all of the other stressors out there.”
Gaul said there are many resources available to students. Things like supplemental instruction and tutors can help students who are struggling.
Another resource available to students is the Writing and Media Center.
Joseph Cheatle is a program coordinator for the Dean of Students Office and works as the director of the Writing and Media Center. Cheatle said he encourages students to take advantage of the center’s resources.
“We have a full staff ready to meet with students,” Cheatle said. “We can work with students one-on-one, or if they are doing group projects they can bring in their entire group and we can work with them on their group projects.”
The Finals Week experience differs from student to student, as well as from class to class. Cheatle said some teachers choose to make a final grade the collection of work done throughout the semester.
“Teachers get to make Finals Week what they want,” Cheatle said. “It [can be] more of a cumulation of a semester. If students have been keeping up with their work for the entire semester, Finals Week is not stressful.”
On the other hand, sometimes students have to study for a test worth a large percentage of their final grade.
“Other classes that are based more on tests might have much more stressful Finals Week because they have to administer tests that’s asking people to recount their knowledge from the entire semester,” Cheatle said.
Finals like these tend to intimidate students. When students are faced with this intimidation of final exams from multiple classes, it can take a toll on their mental health.
“We’re sometimes the only people that students talk to during the day,” Cheatle said. “Writing is a very personal process so during a consultation, students might share with their consultant issues that are going on, whether its academic or personal.”
Cheatle said the Writing and Media Center suggests students talk with professors, advisers, the Dean of Students Office or even Student Counseling Services. Doing so can ease some stress and help students be more successful during Finals Week.
Utilizing the Writing and Media Center outside of Finals Week can also be beneficial. Students can be proactive throughout the semester and work on creating good habits when it comes to completing assignments.
“We want to encourage students to think of us as a resource outside of finals,” Cheatle said. “[They can] build the Writing and Media Center into their communication and writing assignments. That way they kind of take a lot of that stress and burden off of that Finals Week.”
The end of Finals Week can illustrate different milestones in a student's life. First-year students are finishing their first semester at Iowa State, while some students may be finishing their final semester and graduating after the fall term.
If this is the case, Gaul said this time of year might be difficult for those looking for jobs. He said to keep in mind that the holidays tend to result in slow job postings. Nonetheless, students shouldn’t forget about the next step in their career.
“You have to stay proactive with your job search,” Gaul said. “The longer you procrastinate and don’t make finding a job a priority after you graduate, the more red flags you’re creating on that resume.”