Ways to prepare and fight stress during midterms and finals season as a STEM student

So, you’re interested in doing STEM in college — that’s great! STEM is a wonderful field, and it’s always great to hear that more students are interested in getting involved! However, finals season is hard for most students, and I find that being in STEM can often lend itself to unique causes of stress. Although these tips are probably helpful for classes no matter what subject you specialize in, these have specifically helped me with my STEM workload. Here are a few ways to help fight stress through finals as a STEM student!

  1. Set up meetings with your professor. I find that one of the best ways to make sure that you’re not doing an unnecessary amount of work on things that aren’t important to the class is to speak with your professor about the focus of finals and techniques they would suggest that you utilize. I can’t count the number of times I’ve honestly wasted time studying because I didn’t really understand what the professor wanted. This is also a great way to keep up a positive relationship with your professor!
  2. Start or continue utilizing a study group. Although your professor will have some good tips, working with other students is another great way to access more studying resources and get to know other study strategies. Sometimes, it can be helpful just to talk about things you’re struggling with because you might find out that you know more than you think you do!
  3. Seek out tutoring through or outside of the 5Cs. I often find that the times I’ve sought out tutoring have been much more helpful for the amount of time that I’ve spent than spending the same amount of time studying on my own! It’s so helpful to have someone with experience in the subject help you out. Honestly, the best part about tutoring is the fact that it keeps you on task, which can be understandably difficult during such a stressful time.
  4. Ask students who have taken the class before you for advice. Having advice from people who have already gone through what you have, especially with the same professors, can be so helpful! It’s nice to hear some insider information and get an idea of what to expect for finals to make them feel less daunting.
  5. Make sure you’re eating well! It’s very easy to get so bogged down by studying that you miss meals or eat snacks in your room — I can guarantee that I’ve done this many times. Still, it’s never a waste of time to make sure you’re finding and eating! Eat some hearty food and take a break to eat it, it is always completely worth it.
  6. Take breaks to see friends. You don’t need to completely isolate yourself in order to finish your work! It’s okay to get meals and spend time with your friends, and you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about that. It’s important to keep your mental health together as well, and if seeing friends helps do that for you, that is really important! 
  7. Take time for yourself! It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of your responsibilities for school and even your social commitments, but having time to take care of yourself is vital. Do your favorite hobbies, practice self-care, and don’t be afraid to spend time alone if that’s what you need. College can be so filled with responsibilities and the fear of missing out, but you need your “you” time!

With all that having been said, it’s important that you take care of yourself above everything else. It’s true that STEM can be very challenging and extremely time-consuming around finals and midterms season, so it’s important to have a plan! Good luck to you!