Students find ways to deal with midterm stress

The phrases “midterm week” and “finals week” often evoke negative reactions in Weber State University students. This time of the semester is when the classes get thick with homework, quizzes, tests, readings and hours of studying for most Wildcats, which can sometimes be hard to balance for students who also have jobs.

“The most stressful part of the semester is the fact that I work 40-60 hours per week,” said sophomore Aaron Reeder. “I have to take all of my classes online because most of what I need aren’t offered as night classes.”

The process of balancing work with school is a constant one, and Reeder said it can be a lot to deal with.

“I pretty much have to remind myself that stressing out doesn’t make my situation better and doesn’t reduce what I have to do,” Reeder said. “I just need to get it done.”

Michael Olpin runs the WSU Stress Relief Center, which offers services to students who are having a hard time balancing school and other activities.

“I would say most students struggle with having so very many things on their plate, or trying to juggle too many balls at the same time,” Olpin said. “Most of our WSU students go to school full-time, are employed full- or part-time, and have families of varying sizes. Handling all of those, and also including social, spiritual and religious, and recreational activities is an incredible load. The constant drain of that balancing act can be very hard on our health.”

Olpin said it’s important to live in the moment when it comes to dealing with stressful situations.

“We keep our awareness, our thinking, our consciousness where we are, and not where we are not,” he said. “Stress happens when we turn our minds to what might happen that might be painful . . . we call this worrying.”

The Stress Relief Center offers several resources for students, including massage chairs, a chi machine, recliners, and a light and sound machine. The light and sound machine combines light with sound to activate both hemispheres of the brain and enhance brain-wave activity. These resources are free as part of student tuition fees, but not many students are actually aware of them.

“I’ve never taken advantage of any resources on campus to help deal with stress,” Reeder said. “To be honest, I didn’t really know they had any.”

Other WSU students said that just finding hobbies made significant differences in their stress levels and the way they felt about themselves. Olpin also named meditation, yoga, guided relaxation, massage and aerobic exercise as relaxing activities.

“I’m stressed out, and I’m still dealing with it,” said WSU senior Gentry Phillips. “But I’ve picked up yoga, which is already helping!”

Sports such as yoga, pilates, and aerobics not only induce endorphins, but provide students with hobbies to get their minds off homework and deadlines, even for just an hour or two.

Olpin stressed the importance of refraining from worrying about the future. He said taking deep breaths and focusing on the task at hand, instead of what might happen, is the best way to calm down when feeling panicked or anxious.

“I know the stress will be worth it when I graduate,” Phillips said, “if I can just get that far!”