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End of semester stress and what to do about it

CMS 120A Capstone Project

Fri, Dec 3rd 2021 03:30 pm

By Kylie Roberts

Special to Niagara Frontier Publications

The weeks toward the end of the fall semester are filled with stress and anticipation for college students. It can be hard to keep momentum going in a rapidly changing environment.

Early November is the beginning of the winter lull for Niagara University students, which can last up to finals. Halloween festivities have just ended; it’s getting colder and darker. Everyone is ready for some down time with their families. It is almost time to begin preparing for finals. For many students, this is a time that they begin to hit a rut.

Contributors to End of Semester Lack of Motivation

  1. It gets dark out at 5 p.m.

This is a downer for anyone, but for students with assignments to complete, it can be harder to get out of the comfort of a warm bed to get their papers written. As students are beginning to get the hang of their routine on college campuses, daylight savings hits and everything gets disrupted.

“By the time I get out of class and practice, it’s pitch back outside,” Brady Booher said. “It makes me so tired, and I just don’t want to do anything for the rest of the night.”

Booher is a baseball player and biology major who is short on time in his busy schedule.

Niagara University sunset from the eighth floor of Seton Hall at 4:48 p.m.


  1. Being in a dorm by yourself for hours on end is lonely.

Staring at the same four walls that aren’t necessarily your home for hours and days can get repetitive. Students who don’t have roommates or don’t really talk to their neighbors can find it difficult to find things to do when they’re sick of being in their room. For those students who dorm, the option of going home is often not easy; whether they don’t have a car, or it is simply too far to drive to spend a short amount of time home.

“I’m starting to dread going to my dorm at the end of the day,” Brooke Johnson said, “I can’t wait to go home. I’ve been counting the days until the end of the semester.”

Johnson is a freshman at Niagara University this year. On campus, she lives in a single dorm room and doesn’t have much interaction with her neighbors. She is from the Buffalo area and finds herself going home more often than she did in the beginning of the semester due to being bored on campus.

  1. It is time to prep for final assignment and exams.

Final assignments can pile up due to students procrastinating due dates and deadlines or just plain forgetting about them. Because final exam replacements are usually larger assignments, students are given a longer amount of time to work on them; students often interpret this as not having to work on them until they are due, causing more work to pile up at once.

Studying for finals can feel like a make-or-break situation for your end-of-semester grades, which is a lot of pressure. Students can feel confident all semester on individual assignments and tests but, when it comes to a cumulative final, all that confidence goes out the window.

“I feel like I’m just not a great test-taker” Elaina Richards said, “Like, I know all the information in the moment but, when I’m asked about it in a test format, sometimes I just go blank and that’s not an accurate representation of me as a student.”

Knowing that a major portion of your grade depends on one test can put a lot of pressure on students.

  1. The set-up of finals week prolongs the amount of time students spend on campus.

Classes with in-person exams scheduled at the end of finals week causes many students to have to stay on campus the entire time. For those students who don’t live locally, this extends the time they have to stay on campus by multiple days for an hour-long exam.

“A couple of my classes don’t have finals,” Maddie Wojcieszek said. “And the ones that do are some of the last exams during the week.”

Wojcieszek lives in Maryland, so staying the extra couple days puts off her eight-hour drive home.

“It’s hard for me to stay longer, because I have to take care of my siblings while I’m at home.” Wojcieszek continued. She is the second-oldest of six children with two working parents. So, some of this responsibility falls on her and her older sister, also a Niagara student.

Ways to Combat Stress on Campus

  1. Take breaks!

Preparing for your finals does not mean to focus only on your finals! Working yourself too hard and burning yourself out will not help you do better on your tests. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, walk away from what you’re working on and come back to it when you feel ready. Spending time with your friends (who are also probably stressed) is beneficial to everyone. Get everyone together and have a movie night, then get back to studying in the morning, your notes aren’t going anywhere.

  1. Make an appointment with counseling services.

Niagara University offers counseling services in the basement of Seton Hall by appointment only. Niagara University counseling clarifies its purpose with sections telling students what counseling is and is not, helping them to adjust their needs and expectations accordingly.

Schedule a counseling appointment: https://www.niagara.edu/counseling-make-an-appointment/.

  1. Get involved on campus.

Niagara holds fun and engaging events weekly; these are a great way to get out of your dorm and meet with some of your fellow students. Events that are being held for the week are advertised on the Niagara University Instagram (@NiagaraUniversity). These events often include giveaway prizes such as raffle tickets and gift cards.

Get involved on campus: https://www.niagara.edu/cao/.

  1. Go to the gym.

Working out can be a great way to reduce stress. The Kiernan Center is a judgement-free zone where everyone from staff to students are welcome to work out. For those who don’t know where to start with working out, the Kiernan Center has “Fit Friday” posts on its Instagram (@kiernancenter) where they give different work outs to try.

Kiernan Center information: https://www.niagara.edu/kiernan-recreation-center/.

  1. Study in the library

Studying in your room is full of distractions such as your roommate, neighbors and temptations to do other things. Going to the library will put you in a distraction-free environment with resources to help you achieve your goals. Other people are there to study and do work, too, so it is a place of mutual respect. If you feel like you might be a little loud or distracted, grab some friends, and reserve a study room so you can work together without distracting others.

To reserve a study room: https://niagara.libcal.com/reserve/.






Niagara Frontier Publications works with the Niagara University communication studies department to publish the capstone work of students in CMS 120A-B.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of NFP, NU or the communication studies department. Moreover, efforts have been made to encourage the proper use of sources, and discourage anything that would constitute plagiarism.

Comments or concerns can be sent to the NFP editorial department, care of the managing editor.

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