Finals cause anxiety


Christian Richey

First-year undecided student Ryan Barthelemy, left, and second-year sociology student Joseph Giddings prepare for finals.

Ren Bishop, Reporter

As finals approach, students across AACC are experiencing anxiety and frustration.

Ineffective or non-existent study methods contribute to the stress, some students said.

Andrew Solley, a first-year visual arts student, said finals season makes him feel “scared but determined.” Second-year information systems student Marc Rieder agreed. “Finals are always stressful,” he said.

Students around campus suggested that getting out of the house to concentrate better, limiting distractions, making flashcards, taking colorful and organized notes, and going over all material multiple times helps them study for finals.

Rieder said cramming is not an effective way to study  but, he admitted, “A day or two before, I cut all activities and just study.”

But Shelley Greenhouse, a head lab tech at AACC since 2011, said she advises students not to wait until the last minute to try to understand their content.

“Learning happens more outside the classroom,” she said. “The classroom is where you reinforce your understanding.”

Greenhouse said it is important to review the information multiple times and to try to find real-world connections and applications.

Sometimes, anxiety and stress during finals week can become unmanageable. When those feelings are crippling or irrational, mental health professionals call that “test anxiety.”

Test anxiety is the body’s response to stress that can cause shortness of breath, nausea, rapid heartbeat, tingling and shakiness, according to Coordinator for Personal and Career Counseling Diane Hallila.

Hallila said “the body starts to shut down parts of itself that it doesn’t really need,” during test anxiety. Because of this, students may freeze during a test because the body’s response to stress temporarily stops their memory recall.

Hallila suggested meditation and deep breathing to stop test anxiety from reaching this point.

Students suffering from test anxiety and other forms of stress may make an appointment to visit Counseling Services in SUN between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on weekdays.

Fifty-minute counseling sessions are free to AACC students.

Counseling Services also offers workshops, classes and seminars on how to overcome or cope with test anxiety.