The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

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Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
Column | Caitlin Clark adapts to life in the WNBA
By James Carter, Staff Writer • 1:28 am
Opinion | NHL needs to bring specialty jerseys back
By Jameson Keebler, Senior Staff Columnist • June 19, 2024
Opinion | Hold your elected officials morally responsible
By Livia LaMarca, Assistant Opinions Editor • June 18, 2024

Mental health tips during finals week

Mental+health+tips+during+finals+week
Izzy Poth | Staff Illustrator

Finals week and the winter season are officially here, with the end of the semester on the horizon. But along with the holiday season comes vitamin D deficiency, illness and stress amongst the student population. 

Studies show that the heightened levels of stress and anxiety that students experience during finals week leads to a greater risk of mental health decline. The University of Pittsburgh has been working to offer support for students during finals season through counseling and events that promote healthy habits. 

Lauren Hallion, assistant professor and researcher of psychology, recommended that one of the best ways students can take care of themselves during stressful times is to eat, sleep and drink enough water. She also explained the benefits of exercise in terms of academic performance. 

“The brain likes aerobic exercise, and doing things like jogging and even weightlifting can help us think more clearly,” Hallion said.

Hallion added that it is a good idea to avoid turning to alcohol and other substances for relaxation. 

“[Alcohol] can actually cause rebound anxiety,” Hallion said. “The person can end up doing worse in terms of their academic performance as a result, even though it might seem like a good short term fix.”

In reference to reaching out for support, Hallion said counseling is always a resource if students feel they need it, although since finals are a short-term stressor, many students may not require this kind of support. She indicated, however, that the option is always open for students who are struggling with stress and anxiety. 

“When in doubt, always reach out for support,” Hallion said. 

The University Center for Counseling stated it is open for students who need support during finals week, offering drop-in services Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. by visiting or calling the number 412-648-7930. 

If students are seeking counseling sessions, the center said students will be asked to complete paperwork online before meeting with a clinician for support either in-person or virtually.

The Counseling Center said it “also encourage[s] that students continue to attend to their well-being during finals week by getting plenty of sleep, eating well-balanced meals, spending time with their support system, practicing gratitude and engaging in fun activities on campus.” 

Upcoming finals week activities on campus include exercise and relaxation opportunities, such as yoga and pilates in the William Pitt Union and arts and crafts sessions in the Center for Creativity

Hallion also explained a psychological pattern known as state-dependent learning, which can be helpful for students who are looking for ways to do well on exams. 

“If you learn something in a certain condition, you’re going to remember it better when you’re in that condition,” Hallion said. “For students, what that means is that if you are spending your semester getting eight hours of sleep and drinking coffee in the morning, that’s going to be the mental state in which you’re going to be best able to remember all the things that you learned during this semester.”

Senior law, criminal justice and society major Sarah Memon provided advice for students who find themselves struggling with stress during finals, emphasizing the importance of making mental health a priority.

“I think sometimes you need to recognize that you’re getting burnt out and take a step away from doing your homework or studying,” Memon said. “Sometimes just taking 20, even 30 minutes [for] yourself can make a big difference.”

Memon added that she thinks every hour of sleep counts, in addition to engaging in relaxing and social activities. 

“Doing little fun things during finals week never hurts. Go and get that boba with your friends or go and see that movie, a couple hours here and there is never going to hurt and it’s just going to help you feel better about the rest of the week.” Memon said. “Take care of yourself, treat yourself, and you got this.” 

About the Contributor
Abby Lipold, Assistant News Editor
Abby Lipold is the Assistant News Editor for the News Desk. She is an English Nonfiction Writing major and is pursuing a BPhil in International and Area Studies. She has been writing for The Pitt News since January 2022. You can contact Abby at [email protected].