Fresh Perspective | How to deal with end-of-semester anxieties

Fresh Perspective is a biweekly blog about typical college experiences made strange by the COVID-19 pandemic.

By Julia Smeltzer, Senior Staff Writer

In just a couple of weeks, the spring semester and the 2022-2023 academic school year will come to a close. Along with that, summer is approaching. Warm weather and beach vacations lie ahead for some of us, while others may be traveling around the world or starting a new summer internship. With promising things on the horizon, we still need to finish up these last couple of weeks, which might be rough.

For some reason, professors love to push all the important assignments, papers and tests to the last couple of weeks of the semester. As a communications major, the majority of my finals aren’t even during finals week. I have presentations, essays and projects due the week before, leaving my finals week to be pretty relaxed and stress-free. However, these next three weeks are the busiest time of my semester, and I am stressed.

I am sure most student reading this are feeling the exact same way. The overbearing weight of the world — or maybe the Canvas notification center — is on our shoulders. Spring semester is hard as it is. It’s cold the majority of the semester, and we have limited sunlight (and that is if we even get any in Pittsburgh as it is). At this point, we are all burnt out. We all have summer on our minds and we have little gas left in our tanks to get us to the finish line. But sadly, we have no other choice but to finish out the rest of the semester on a high note, and there are ways to help us achieve that.

Write everything down. And I mean everything. Every little assignment, every discussion post, every major assignment. All of it. Write it down somewhere you always look at. For example, I write down all of my big assignments every month on the whiteboard that sits on my desk. I can see it from my bed, so when I wake up in the morning or when I go to bed at night, I glance over and remind myself of the big due dates I have coming up. This helps me organize everything in my brain.

For a couple of weeks one semester, I didn’t write anything down and trusted my brain to keep track. That is a strategy I do not recommend. Organize everything together and never miss a due date. You’ll feel much better after writing and planning everything out.

Make sure you check in on your mental health. The end of the semester is a time of mental breakdowns and all-nighters at Hilman. Yes, I’ve experienced both of those things at the end of the semester, but it is something I try to avoid. I try to take one day at a time and allocate a certain day to get specific assignments done. Splitting up the work the best I can allows me to steer clear of crying in Hilman hours before a final. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so don’t try to do the same for your assignments. It will get done eventually, but don’t let it cost you your well-being.

Find ways to still enjoy the end of the semester. Whether that is going out to dinner with friends, sitting outside if the weather is nice or going to campus events, there are great ways to celebrate the little things — and celebrate the end of another successful semester. A great example of this is the spring football game that takes place on Saturday, April 13. Even though it is just a practice scrimmage, it is a great excuse to get back to Acrisure Stadium for a great day of football, food and friends. As the weather gets nicer, it is also a great excuse to take a break from studying and get outside. You can either go on a walk or relax in Schenley Plaza. Take advantage of the things you can do around campus — it is a great way to de-stress.

So as the semester winds down, we are all going to find ourselves stressed about typing up loose ends with our classes. At the end of the day, if we got through a whole academic year, we can get through the next four weeks. In no time, we will be enjoying our summer vacation, no matter what that looks like, and all of our hard work will pay off. Just remember to stay organized, take care of yourself and find little things to enjoy throughout the end of the semester.

Lastly, take this time to be proud of everything you accomplished so far. If you are a first-year student, you are so close to completing your first year of college. If you are a senior, you are ready to enter that next stage of your life. No matter what year you are finishing up, be proud of how far you’ve come, for in just a couple of weeks, you can say you made it to the end. We don’t have that much time left, Panthers, but we can still make the most out of it.