Students prepare for finals week, share study and stress relief tips


Amaya Lobato | Staff Photographer

A student squeezes a stress ball.

By Madison Dean, Staff Writer

After almost two years of learning in a pandemic, Pitt students are still adjusting to exams and presentations that take place in the classroom and not on the computer screen. Finals are around the corner and students are busy preparing for the tests ahead.

Eileen Zhang, a sophomore nursing major, only has two finals this semester, but her professors also scheduled tests right before finals week. Zhang said she finds it difficult to balance all of the exams with her tight schedule. 

“It’s just hard to sort of manage time and also get some relaxation in,” Zhang said. 

Finals week begins on Monday and runs until the end of the week. With less than a week to prepare and finish up some last minute study sessions, students are feeling the pressure to perform well on their finals. To cure those end-of-semester worries, many use their favorite stress relief activities to clear their minds and refresh before hitting the books again.

Zhang said she tries to practice self-care during finals week by picking up hobbies that make her feel relaxed and happy. 

“I’m definitely hanging out with friends, like grabbing dinner maybe after we’re all studying at home,” Zhang said. “I also really like crocheting. That’s a good stress reliever, I would say.” 

Other students also complained about the lack of time professors give students between finals, making it harder to find time to study and prepare for tests the next day. When one final ends, it feels like another begins for many students. 

To manage her stress during finals week, Kara Vohra, a junior finance major on the pre-law track, utilizes the gym as a way to take a study break. She enjoys going up to the Petersen Events Center between her classes and studying. 

“I think I definitely try to make an effort to work out more because I think exercise definitely helps you relieve stress in ways that, you know, daily activities probably can’t,” Vohra said. “I tried to make it to the Pete a few more times this week.” 

Omkar Betsur, president of the Therapy Dogs Club, said the therapy dogs are a useful resource on Pitt’s campus for students who need a furry companion to relax and de-stress. 

“It promotes student mental wellness by bringing animals that relax student anxiety, provides a system for anyone who’s going through academic or any personal hardships and troubles, and we’re just there for students to have a break in their week,” Betsur, a junior biology major, said. 

Aside from visiting the therapy dogs, Betsur said he likes to relax and refresh during finals week by watching and playing soccer, as well as participating in new things around campus. 

“I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is to take a break every now and then and do what you enjoy,” Betsur said. “If you do more that you enjoy, your mind will be fresher.” 

The Therapy Dogs Club will have a special finals week event on Friday at Hillman Library. The dogs are also available throughout the semester at Student Health Services and the Cathedral of Learning every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Pitt also offers other resources on campus for students looking for extra support during finals week. The Stress Free Zone on the third floor of the William Pitt Union provides a space for students to relax through wellness practices like yoga, meditation and mindfulness audio stations. The University also provides counseling services for students who want to talk with a clinician through the University Counseling Center

First-year students experiencing their first finals week can feel stressed, overwhelmed and burnt out. With the adjustment from high school to the academic demands of professors, rigorous studying is both intimidating and tiring. 

Vohra said to relieve some of the stress, students new to finals should start studying early and make a plan that works with their schedules. 

“Don’t procrastinate. Don’t wait till the last second to study,” Vohra said. “Definitely make yourself a study plan to follow for like the last two weeks.” 

Vohra also shared some personal study tips that she likes to use for exams. 

“I still to this day write down how many PowerPoints I need to go through or how many slides I need to go through and then like x-ing them out is just so venerating,” Vohra said. “You should definitely try that.” 

Luke Folmar, a junior marketing major, shared tips on how to help first-year students navigate a busy finals week. 

“Start studying early so you’re ready,” Folmar said. “[First years] should also make sure they know the final weighting of the grade.” 

Folmar also said “relaxing with friends on the weekend” is the best way to de-stress before he takes his final exams. He added that meeting up with friends is a great way to take a study break for a few hours. 

Betsur said although it may feel like it, final grades for one semester don’t define your career path or worth as a student. 

“There’s just so much more you’re going to learn and grow that it’s not the end of the world at all,” Betsur said. 

Zhang echoed Betsur’s advice and said students shouldn’t dwell on their finals and to stay hopeful through the challenging week. 

“It will all work out in the end, like finals aren’t everything,” Zhang said. “If you just push through this week, it’ll feel so much better.”