No-Stress November: Students Talk About Dealing with End of Semester Woes

Story and Photo by Brittany Andrade

College can feel like a lifetime and not enough time simultaneously.

With only a few weeks left in the semester, there’s one thing that most college students can relate to around the end of the semester – stress.

Stress comes with having assignments still left to finish, tests that feel like they’re right around the corner and trying to get everything done before the end of the semester.

So how do students deal with stress when college can feel overwhelming every now and then?

For students like Hannah Fox, a sophomore majoring in psychology, spending time with friends is one way she takes care of herself.

“Sometimes I feel more motivated to do the stuff that needs to get done after hanging out with my friends and sometimes they’re more distracting,” Fox said. “Either way, my friends help me forget how stressed I am and that helps me recharge. They’re pretty great. I used to think it was selfish to take care of myself, but after coming to college I’ve realized how important it is to actually take time out for myself to do things I enjoy.”

Other students like Kelsi Churchill, a freshman majoring in Spanish, monitor what kind of stress they’re dealing with to help identify what they need to destress.

Kelsi Churchill, right, sits and talks with her roommates Carley Engstrom, left, and Amanda Mrozek, center, in Larzelere Hall on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 || Taken by Brittany Andrade

“I listen to music to help me relax, depending on how I’m feeling,” Churchill said. “There are times when I’ll want to hang out with friends, and there are times when I just need to be by myself, and both are okay. Stress is almost contagious; if I’m coming into a test and I see how stressed everyone else is, I’ll get stressed. It’s just a matter of knowing my limits and knowing what kind of stress I’m dealing with.”

Sometimes self-care can take a few different forms, like for CMU sophomore Lauren Nowosatka from Saginaw, Michigan.

Lauren Nowosatka attends a CMU football game in Kelly Shorts Stadium. || Courtesy of Nowosatka


“I spend at least an hour every day doing some sort of exercise, I always go to bed as early as I can to get a good night’s rest and I give myself small rewards for accomplishing things,” Nowosatka said. “I handle stress by always thinking about the bigger picture of things, and reminding myself that one bad grade won’t ruin the rest of my life.”

North Campus Counselor in Residence Whitney Brooks-Huntoon, recommends that students take action and start taking care of themselves now, rather than later.

“Start spending 10 minutes each day dedicated to self-care,” Brooks-Huntoon said. “Do not wait until you feel so overwhelmed that you start to avoid your responsibilities. Self-care looks different for all individuals but there are three standard essentials that everyone show do: get enough sleep, maintain proper nutrition and exercise regularly. Even simple activities like listening to your favorite music, doodling, taking a tour of the CMU Greenhouse, etc. can be helpful in decreasing your stress long term. This will help you power through the end of the semester and help you feel the rewards of your hard work.”

CMU has a number of resources to help students who are dealing with stress, including the CMU Counseling Center, University Health Services, Center for Community Counseling & Development, Psychological Training & Consultation Center and Success Coaches.

As the year comes to a close, remember that physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being are just as important as academics and extra-curriculars, if not more so.

So take a deep breath, remember to laugh and when things get particularly stressful, remember to take care.