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?

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Comments (6)


During long periods of studying you get to the point where your mind gets groggy and you find yourself procrastinating and drifting off doing whatever else. When I was in school I always made a point to go to the gym every single day during finals week whenever this happened. It didn't matter if it was morning/afternoon/night--I would go work out, shower, grab some food then get back to hitting the books. Felt amazingly refreshed once I got back. I did this every semester for four years and it worked like a charm.

That being said, I would do ANYTHING to go back to the days when finals week was the biggest worry in my life.


At my school, we have a midnight streaking through the libraries on the first day/night of exams. Crowds actually gather in the library to watch. I guess this is stress release for both parties.


big fan of working out when stressed. i never felt like i had enough time to get in a full 1 or 1.5 hour workout though, so I did a lot of circuit training for 30-45 minutes. Gets your heart rate up, builds muscle, and requires a lot of explosive energy (depending on what exercises you do) that I always found helped get a lot of the pent-up energy and frustration out that came with sitting in a chair for 13 hours straight staring a textbook.

also, if you're musically inclined, pick up a guitar or something and just take a 10 minute break. you can "reward" yourself for reading x number of chapters with 15 minutes of music or something. always helped me.

Remember, once you're inside you're on your own.
Oh, you mean I can't count on you?


At the end of every quarter (when targets are due) my desk goes apeshit. No joke. The only thing I do to combat the stress and long hours is to hit the gym after work. Luckily my company has an amazing gym that open till really late (thank you IBD guys).


Taking long walks around campus while listening to awesome music. Helps destress. On the other hand, caffeine intake increases as the days get closer to finals.

"Our biggest regrets are not for the things we have done but for the things we haven't done"


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