Finals week is awful for anybody in college. For most of us, weeks of procrastination and sleeping in class culminate in a chaotic 7-14 day period of angst and distress. Whether it's reading a 400 page physics textbook in 2 days or writing a 20 page research paper in an afternoon, I've seen my fellow classmates use their fear of failure to accomplish superhuman intellectual feats.
But what happens if this fear isn't cultivated correctly? Aside from adderall abuse, the second thing I see most on my campus during finals is worry. The actual work may be boring and tedious, but it usually boils down to knocking down problem sets akin to cranking widgets. However, the emotions that run through high-achievers minds are what make the week so bad. It's one thing to have to understand the Romer model over a semester. Throw in the possibility of an F and a short deadline, and any semblance of work becomes hell on earth.
I was recently watching a documentary entitled "Stress: Portrait of a Killer" by National Geographic. As the name suggests, the film details the incredible and largely unexpected results that chronic stress can have on our lives. Health issues range from weight gain to disease, and psychologically it takes a toll on your ability to focus, as well as your motivation levels.
There are numerous different ways to deal with stress. Recently, my school hired two professional masseuses to give out free massages to students in the library. Though only lasting about 5 minutes, it was a shocker to discover how much of a difference it made in reinvigorating my motivation to keep grinding out the rote memorization.
I personally love to hit the weights when times are tough. Especially if you're a male, there's nothing better than beating a personal record in the gym and transmuting all that excess energy into physical achievement. If you're a girl, same thing still applies. I've never seen my female friends throw around more weight than in times of high stress.
In an industry like finance, stress levels are especially high and managing them is often a key to success. What are your thoughts on combating stress?