‘Tis the season of giving or the season to be thankful. For
others it’s the season to be stressed out.
Between finals and end of semester assignments, it is not
uncommon for some college students to experience elevated levels of
stress during these times.
Other than being a mental hindrance, stress can have adverse
physical affects on the body as well.
Ernie Chavez, chair of the psychology department, said stress
creates a “fight or flight” condition in the body, a condition in
which the body senses danger and is rushed with adrenaline to
either ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ from the danger.
But stress is a mental perception of danger that does not exist
on a physical level. Stress creates an imbalance in a body’s
chemistry because of the prolonged time the body is pumping
adrenaline, among other neurochemicals through your blood.
The result of this is a body that is run down with a weakened
immune system. This is why some people get sick right after
Being that “stress season” coincides with the flu season, it
would seem like a particularly bad time to deteriorate one’s immune
Though students can’t control their finals, they can control
During times of stress students may experience increased acne,
headaches and high levels of irritability.
Everyone has his/her own methods of studying for finals and
coping with stress, but some people have a hard time telling the
difference between real solutions and myths.
“I usually just try and exercise and remind myself not to
overreact,” said Megan Chapman, freshman open option major. “If I
can not save all my studying so I have to cram at the end, that
Chavez also said students should maintain as many aspects of
their normal routines as possible, including things like diet and
“Keep with your routine. If you exercise on a daily basis before
finals, exercise daily during finals,” Chavez said. “If you don’t
exercise and you decide to run a couple miles because you think
you’re getting stressed with finals, you’re just putting more
stress on your system.”
He said it is important for students to remind themselves that
this test really is not different than any other tests they’ve
Jerry Deffenbacher, a psychology professor at CSU whose research
focuses on stress, offers some more immediate solutions to
“You need to ask yourself ‘is my thinking making me more
stressful?’ It will be helpful to sit back and say things to
yourself like ‘I would like an A, but I don’t need one.'”
Deffenbacher also said taking breaks in studying by listening to
music, going for a walk or another relaxing activity will help
break up the tension of studying.
Deffenbacher said it is important to prioritize stresses and
address those things that need to be addressed first.
“For example, if you and your roommate are having issues
resolving the phone bill you’ll need to decide which stressor is
more important,” Deffenbacher said. “If your phone bill argument
can wait until after finals, then you should push it back until
Charles Davidshofer, director of the University Counseling
Center, works with stressed students on a regularly. Davidshofer
said stress and depression are the two most common ailments
afflicting students who seek help at the center, especially around
“If people don’t get things done at a timely fashion in this
season, they tend to feel frenzied,” Davidshofer said. “This time
of year seems to present a lot of financial problems for
Davidshofer said students can keep stress down these times of
year by establishing a more rigorous study schedule earlier in the
year. But although studying is a key component to not stressing out
during finals, he said setting aside time for recreation should be
built into one’s schedule.
The University Counseling Center offers a stress management
program on campus and can be reached at 491-6053 for an
appointment, but walk-ins are accepted.
Another source of relaxation might be found at Campus Recreation
with a massage. If interested in setting up an appointment call