Avoid Common College Stressors as the Holidays Approach

October 17, 2019
Student sitting at table working on laptop stressed out

It’s almost time for winter break! And though for some that may be the best news they’ve heard all week, for others it brings anxiety. There are a ton of things that can add to your stress level as the end of your first semester draws near. Here’s how to avoid or better manage those college stressors so that your last few weeks aren’t anxiety-ridden, and your winter break is happy and fun. 

Midterms and Finals

One thing is certain as you approach the end of the semester—you can’t avoid finals. But you can prepare for them in a way that makes them a little less stressful. Practice time management strategies to make the most of your packed schedule. 

Sit down with your syllabus and make a list of outstanding tests and assignments. Plan out your study and writing time over the following weeks, instead of trying to cram it in the last minute. Having a plan alone reduces a tremendous amount of stress. Take advantage of the Thanksgiving break and class-free days to study for finals. (Here’s the Clemson Academic Calendar to give you an idea of break and examine schedules). 

Use these study tips for finals week for even more help with exam prep. 

Planning for Winter Break

Chances are when winter break starts, you’ll still have a full calendar, just in a different way. You have to coordinate travel arrangements. The holidays often mean heading back home to stay with your parents, which can be stressful after living alone for a few months. Your high school friends are back in your hometown, and you’ll want to see everyone. It can be a lot to balance between get-togethers, family and friends, not to mention, you’re wiped after exam week. 

Don’t be anxious. First—book and plan travel to get it out of your way. If possible, try to touch base with family and friends during Thanksgiving break to set tentative plans. During exams, put winter break and the holidays out of your mind and focus on your studies. If you need a study break, do productive things like making a packing list. (Pro-tip: do this on your phone and add items as you think of them).  

Ease your Finances

Finances can be a big source of stress for any college student. If you worked over the summer and don’t currently have a job, your available cash may be running low. Alternatively, you might have to cut down hours at your part-time job to focus on exams. We all know that the winter holidays mean spending money, whether it be gifts, parties, travel or even buying clothes for festive occasions.  

When it comes to presents, check out our guide to holiday shopping on a college budget. Also, consider making a list of gifts and expected expenses during the break. This can help you visualize what kind of budget you need but also clear one more thing from your hectic mind. 

Prioritize Your Health

Both leading up to and during winter break, don’t forget to prioritize your physical health and mental wellness. Did you know that stress weakens your immune system? Be proactive and make sure to get enough sleep, eat well and sneak in a workout, if you can! Taking the time to take care of your body will pay off when you return to studying refreshed and ready! No one wants to sit next to someone sneezing during an exam. 

Once you travel and start seeing lots of family and friends, there are germs everywhere and more to eat and drink, which increases the chance of getting sick. Bulk up on Vitamin C, and don’t be afraid to call it an early night. 

Lastly, winter break is a time to rest and recharge before the next semester, not burn out from too much activity. The few weeks will fly by, so make sure to plan some relaxation and self-care so you can head back to Tiger town ready for second semester. 
Hint: you might even want to start working on those New Year’s Resolutions