Humans of the Dub: Coping with finals week


Molly Crum, senior Communication Studies major, on coping with stress during finals week. Photo courtesy of Molly Crum.

Leah Sherrell, Humans of the Dub - Assistant Editor

How is finals season going for you right now?

“I think it’s going good, but it has been difficult because of everything being online. Half of my classes were in-person initially. When we went all online, the whole format of my classes changed. That’s what kind of messed me up a little bit with finals. I’ve noticed it’s mostly group projects and final projects, but I don’t know if it’s because I’m a senior. I’m having less exams and tests, and more group work which I didn’t expect.”

Do you think it’s been harder doing groupwork online?

“I would say harder. This past week I had a group project where I needed to turn in a proposal yesterday. Our meetings times were so off because some of them had full-time jobs from nine to five and others, like myself, work on the weekends. I have more flexibility that way. We weren’t able to meet ‘til Thursdays at 7 p.m. or something like that. I think it’s just been a lot harder to do groupwork because peoples’ schedules are so different right now. With COVID-19 everything is just so much harder.”

With being a senior during the COVID-19 pandemic, how did you feel going into finals season?

“I thought it was going to be more chill than it actually was to be honest. I thought teachers would realize that’s it’s been tough on us. However, it’s definitely been more than I expected. I thought it was just going to be online exams and watch a couple lectures. I didn’t think there would be this many final projects. I have a final group project with every class I have and that’s just a shock to me. Group work is pretty hard right now because we can’t meet in person. Having a group project was a slap in the face a little bit. All my groups have handled it well, but we just didn’t expect it. When I was reading the syllabus for all my classes, I did see there was a lot of work involving projects and portfolios. I just didn’t think it would be so group intensive.”

How do you handle and cope with stress during finals week?

“I’ve taken up running early in the morning when there’s no one there. If I’m really stressed, I just want to be alone. I choose places to run that aren’t really a lot of people. Listening to music while I’m running helps. I also read before I go to bed. It helps relax me a lot, so that I’m not always on my phone. Reading helps me to escape from thinking about all the things I’m supposed to do. Running and reading is really how I cope during stress.”

How did you realize that reading and running were good ways to manage your stress?

“It was when I moved into the house I’m currently living in and I share a room, so I don’t really get a lot of alone time. Running was my only way to really be alone and do what I want. I would be able to walk where I want. I don’t have to talk to anyone. I don’t feel obligated to do anything. Moving into where I live now made me realize that running can be used as an escape. You’re alone and you have full control of what path you want to go and your body. I feel like you don’t realize that when you’re in a room full of people. I finally got into reading books that I’m actually just now getting into books that I want to read and not just books I have to read for school. In my COM 400 class, our ‘textbook’ can be any book of your choosing. I chose called ‘Untamed.’ I’ve been really enjoying it. It’s opened up more books I’ve been liking. It’s really been about the fact that I don’t need to read just for school.”

Do you have any finals after Thanksgiving? Do you like the way your professors and the University has chosen to do finals?

“I have a paper and a few presentations. It’s not like exams. We turn in our material before Thanksgiving and we present Dec. 3-5. To make more sense with it all, they should have just done it all at once. It’s honestly a little confusing that I have to go to Thanksgiving, then come right back and do more work. It would have been better if we upped the ante in the beginning, so we could just finish this semester right before Thanksgiving and get it done. It’s a bit draining doing all this work during finals and then having a weekend off, then coming right back into it. Most of my finals are just split up into two days: before Thanksgiving and after. They should have just done it all at once. It’s just so broken up to the point where I’m scared I’m going to miss an assignment or turn in something late.”

What advice would you give to other students who feel drained or stressed during finals season?

“Planning out everything, whether it be on an agenda, I’ve just been getting blank white paper and writing down the days and what I need to do, helps to remind me that I just need to take things day by day. If you’re getting really stressed out on a Monday because your week looks so busy, only focus on that Monday. When you take it day by day you can really just focus on that day and the little things. That’s what stresses me out—looking at the whole week and seeing everything you have to do. You really just have to take it day by day. Whatever you don’t get done that day, you have time. It’s not the world is going to end if you miss an assignment. Take it little by little. Don’t look at the big picture.”