Michelle Reynolds, Staff Writer

These last few weeks of school usually consist of coffee chugging, study-cramming, last minute assignments and test-taking. But don’t let the end of the semester stress you out. Here are a few tips to help you wrap up the semester like a pro.

Sweat Your Way to Better Grades

FIT from WebMD and Sanford state that, “Exercise not only builds your fitness⸺it also boosts your brain power, which can help you do better in school.” Other benefits from exercise include better sleep, better memory retention, more energy and less stress.

Not only does going to the gym serve as a distraction from studying, but it’s a great way to burn off the extra tension and frustration associated with finals week. So take advantage of the $36 million University of Missouri–St. Louis Recreation and Wellness Center.


You Are What You Eat

To help lessen anxiety, sometimes it isn’t about what you do; it’s about what you eat. According to studypal.com, berries “contain antioxidants and phytonutrients which enhance neural activity by increasing blood flow to the brain.” Berries are also considered beneficial for relieving stress. They help your brain focus and function effectively as well as help protect cells from damage. No wonder berries are called superfoods.

Protein, avocado, chocolate and coffee are also beneficial to consume during finals week. In particular, coffee has many positive effects; it can improve mood, concentration and memory. Even the smell of coffee can reduce the stress caused by sleep deprivation and damage caused by stress.

Organize Yourself

Studies show that writing your goals down makes you more likely to achieve them. Not only does creating to-do lists help you organize all that you have to do, especially when ranking them in order of importance and making your goals attainable, but it also makes the goals more concrete and you more accountable for them.

Not only is writing down your goals a good start, but cleaning off your desk can also help students. As Laurence J. Peter said, “If a cluttered desk is the sign of a cluttered mind, what is the significance of a clean desk?” Having a clean desk cannot only help declutter your mind, but can help create a less stressful, more relaxed environment.

Take Care of Yourself

With such limited time left, students may neglect their friends as well as sleep and just study, study, study. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine posted in 2008 that, “Hours of sleep per school night were significantly positively associated with GPA and level of motivation.” Lack of sleep can make it harder for students to remember what they have studied and can also lead to them making simple mistakes on tests, such as misreading questions.

Besides sleeping, another thing students can do is to take breaks. “After overuse, the mind will become fatigued and exhausted, just like muscles if we work them too hard at the gym,” says an article in According to The New York Times. They also claim that, “Taking regular breaks from mental tasks improves productivity and creativity — and that skipping breaks can lead to stress and exhaustion.”

Laura Holt, a psychologist/Outreach Coordinator at the UMSL Health, Counseling, and Disability Access Services sums it up best, “The biggest coping skill is to remember you need sleep and fun to recharge, just expecting yourself to become a study machine is neither kind nor effective!”

Stop By UMSL

It seems contradictory to stay on campus even when all you want is to leave, but the UMSL Health, Counseling, and Disability Access Services will be hosting a Destressfest. This event runs Dec. 3–6 and will feature hot chocolate, crafts and other sources of relaxation.

Good luck on all your last minute finals and assignments. Just remember, there is a nice winter break around the corner with your name on it!