By Mandy Seiner, ’18
Perhaps the most chaotic part of the fall semester is the period of time between Thanksgiving and winter break. Students tend to return to campus with a great deal on their plates, not having considered how short the time span before the end of the semester actually is. There are lots of ways you can support your student during this crunch time, whether it’s their first time going through college-level finals or their last.
You can make your student aware of resources on campus that can support them during finals week. For example, the Emerson Counseling and Psychological Services (ECAPS) has urgent care walk-in hours 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Monday through Friday. They also have an after hours crisis hotline at 617-824-8595. There are events on campus to help support students, such as the dining center’s late night breakfast on Monday, December 11th from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm, which is free and available to all students, those living both on and off campus. Ask your student to check in with their resident assistant about any de-stressing events being put on by RAs in the residence halls.
It’s easy to let your physical and mental health fall to the wayside while focusing on papers and exams. Quick on-the-go style foods become much more enticing, but they can lead to a lack of concentration and feelings of fatigue. Encouraging your student to eat foods that will resist sugar crashes and to monitor their caffeine intake (for every cup of coffee you drink, have a cup of water!) can go a long way. Sleeping is also, of course, important. This can be surprisingly easy to forget! Something I’ve gotten in the habit of doing this semester is taking note of the point in the night when I know I will not be getting any more quality work done. Rather than try to push through and write a few more sentences or study a few more flash cards over the span of a late night hour or so, I go to sleep. This sounds simple and obvious, but it’s easy to fall out of tune with your body while stressed and push basic needs to the wayside. One more thing that really helps is to get moving. It can be difficult to find structured time to exercise in the midst of exams, but it’s important to take breaks while studying, and going for a brisk walk around the Boston Common is a perfect reason to do so.
There’s definitely a lot to juggle as finals wind up and the semester winds down, but by checking in with your students and reminding them to check in with themselves you can encourage healthy habits and a smoother transition to the winter break. And just think! On the other side of it all you’ll have your student home for holiday season.