Stress takes hold during finals

SF State senior Pasoon Shmadzai studies for a final in the annex on May 3. Aaron Perez / special to Xpress

With finals lurking right around the corner, students are taking it upon themselves to either foster or sabotage their future.

Finals week is a stressful time for many students as they attempt to juggle academics while on the verge of summer break and a semester’s worth of hard work.

While some Gators are model students, others may not have learned how to manage their time just yet.

“I start my homework and studying at 1 a.m.” said Jeremy Capuyon, a junior at SF State. “That just works best for me. I don’t study until two nights before my finals.”

Because he works downtown with Filipino veterans for 20 hours a week, Capuyon, 20, has a difficult time keeping on top of his classes as he plans on switching from an undeclared junior into the psychology department.

“I’m pretty stressed,” Capuyon said. “I have about four finals to study for. My hardest finals are for my microbiology and chemistry classes.”

Other students, like senior environmental studies major Sashenka Goodall, 23, have figured out how to arrange their time around finals.

“I have three finals and I’m not letting it get to me,” she said. “I make a list and prioritize what to study for.”

Living in the Sunset and working two jobs 36 hours a week, Goodall has had no choice but to adapt her life to the stress.

“I’ve given up what basically looks like a social life,” Goodall said. “When I’m not reading on BART, I sleep on it.”

According to a national study, titled “The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2010” that interviewed 200,000 incoming students at four-year colleges, stress levels for freshmen are at an all-time high, while mental health is at an all-time low.

The survey has been collecting data for the past 25 years.

The study also found that the most common reasons students are feeling stressed are the economy and their ability to find jobs and the future debts they will incur from student loans.

The numerous students who said their mental health was “above average” have steadily declined by 12 percent from 64 to 52 percent in the past 25 years.

To help students manage with their ever-increasing stress levels, the Counseling and Psychological Services Center put together a list of “Wellness Tips” for the student body to peruse.

If the deluge of homework and finals has taken too much of a toll, the center also offers counseling for stress during the fall and spring semesters.

SF State even offers the Peggy H. Smith Counseling Clinic, which is run by the department of counseling for individuals, couples and group support as training for graduate students.

Campus organizations helped to ease the tension of on-campus students by hosting the annual Stress Relief Day where they offered educational games and ice cream with the biggest draw being a castle-shaped bounce house.

“I drink a lot of coffee during finals week,” said junior communications major Lauren Bauccio, 23. “I have two presentations and two finals. My stress level is at an eight or nine.”

While energy drinks and caffeine consumption may go up during the end of a semester as students try to play catch up or maintain their stellar grades, the Counseling and Psychological Services Center suggests otherwise.

It’s a time to eat nutritious foods and be careful of overindulgence in alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes.

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