By Sierra Chunko
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – Midterms and finals may be the most stressful time for college students.
“I think a lot of learning is forgotten and a lot of cramming goes on,” says Michael Colbert, a psychology professor at Camden County College for more than 20 years. “Depending on how well (the students) do on the midterm dictates how the rest of the semester goes.”
Brian Hughes-Richardson, a 26-year-old student at Camden County College, says he starts to stress out more during midterms week. “I am a horrible test taker,” says Hughes-Richardson, because he feels the stress that the heavy graded exams bring.
Hughes-Richardson says he has previously gone to student tutors and sought other assistance without having any success in the programs. “I believe there are people here at CCC that care to go out of their way to help you, but I also believe that there are a majority that are here but not really ‘here’ … I feel there could be a lot more that the higher-ups at CCC can do to really filter those teachers,” says Hughes-Richardson.
Isadora Silva, a 22-year-old exchange student from Brazil completing her second semester at CCC, says she started the semester with four classes but had to drop one of her classes because of the stress it caused her when preparing for the exams. “It’s stressful when everyone decides to have their midterms on the same day, that’s when I get stressed,” Silva says.
Midterms and finals do not make stress management easy.
Students can practice a variety of coping techniques to manage their stress, especially when finals come around.
Two techniques Colbert insists on are using a professor’s office hours throughout the semester if a student is not understanding the material and starting peer study groups. Colbert also encourages students who struggle with time management to set up a schedule to anticipate when exams are and pace themselves.
“The other piece is the more psychological thing: breathing and getting enough sleep. We tell students to review their notes the night before the exam and right before the exam. It decreases what we call Interference Theory. Reviewing right before they go to bed, the brain continues to process that stuff. Reviewing right before the exam, it covers any of the in-between,” says Colbert.
Stress is becoming increasingly apparent in college students, according to experts. LearnPsychology reports that 20 percent of college students say they feel stressed almost all the time because of the academic demands and test anxiety.