Midterms can be stressful, and while some stress can help motivate us, too much can be harmful. Learning to manage stress is key in getting through what can feel like a challenging point in the semester. Here are tips on recognizing the negative signs of stress in your student and supporting them through midterms.
Recognizing signs of stress
When stress reaches a level that has a negative impact on students, they can become irritable, impatient and feel overwhelmed. Other signs can include:
- Physical ailments like headaches, muscle tension or frequent illnesses
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- A change in hygiene and appearance
- Unusual or exaggerated emotional responses
- Social withdrawal
Here are some ways in which you can support your student in managing stress and getting ready for midterms:
- Your student may feel under pressure with midterms, and sometimes they just need someone to listen as they vent about their worries and frustrations. Respond with empathy and encourage them to stay optimistic. Remind them fall break is just around the corner and they will soon have a chance to take a break from coursework.
- Feeling prepared to tackle study sessions and midterm exams can help your student manage their stress. Offer to help them come up with a study strategy – they can begin by breaking projects or studying into smaller tasks so it’s more manageable, blocking off study periods for each class on their calendar and prioritizing projects and exams based on deadlines. Encourage them to take advantage of the various academic resources available on campus, and to attend their professor’s office hours if they have questions about a particular class.
- Getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, staying hydrated and exercising regularly are all helpful in managing stress and maintaining energy. Encourage your student to avoid marathon study sessions and instead take short breaks (5-minute break for every 25 minutes of studying) to relax and give their brain a rest.
- As your student prepares for midterms, consider sending them a care package. Receiving snacks and a personalized note from home can help a student feel supported during stressful times. The Residence Hall Association (RHA) partners with Our Campus Market to provide several services to students and families, including a care package program. There is a great selection of care packages to choose from at a variety of price points. To order, visit the Our Campus Market site.