Dec 10, 2018

Students cope with stress as finals approach

Gabriela Larralde, majoring in classics, gets tutoring
from linguistics major Christian Paulsen in preparation
for her Latin final exam.
Sergio Robles / The Collegian

With finals lurking just around the corner, some students’ stress levels are on the rise.

Finals week at Fresno State will begin on Dec. 5, but the stress of finals can begin long before that day.

“I have a lot of finals, but it’s the papers and the projects that stress me out even more,” chemistry student Mike Morales said. “It just seems like everything is always due at the same time.”

Morales had to turn in many projects this week that will have a major impact on his overall course grade.

Aside from the emotional effects, stress can also affect the human body.

“Stress creates an inflammatory response in the body that can affect the arteries,” said Elizabeth Ferris, a food science and nutrition professor at Fresno State. “This can lead to increased risk for heart disease and high blood pressure.”

To reduce high stress levels, Ferris suggests that students exercise and make healthy food choices.

“Eating foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and nuts will help,” Ferris said.

Exercise is also a big part of keeping stress levels under control.

WebMD suggests practicing meditation and yoga to help reduce stress. The website also states that the “relaxation can do wonders to restore balance in your life and may even reduce some of the health risks associated with stress.”

Sarah Cohen, an art history student at Fresno State, tries to keep her stress levels under control during finals by exercising.

“When I’m stressed I take breaks,” Cohen said. “I go for a walk with my dog and I also like to get a good night’s rest before the test.”

According to The Better Sleep Council’s website,, “65 percent of Americans are losing sleep due to stress.”

While sleeping may seem like an easy thing to do, it is an important step in reducing stress levels that should not be overlooked.

Food also plays an equally important role in stress reduction. Cohen doesn’t alter her eating and drinking habits very much when she’s stressed.

“I don’t really notice that much of a change in my eating and drinking habits,” Cohen said. “If anything I try and drink more tea.”

The website said that “black tea can reduce the effects of stressful events by lowering the amount of the stress hormone cortisol in the body.” The website affirms that besides being packed full of antioxidants, tea has also been known to reduce the risk of heart attacks, prevent diabetes, assist the digestive system and fight cavities.

“I probably should make better eating habits all the time, but especially when I’m stressed out,” Morales said. “When I’m busy with school or work I usually just eat whatever is the fastest but not necessarily the healthiest.”

For students struggling with stress, the Fresno State Student Health Center has psychological counselors who meet with students as well as dieticians ready to advise on what to eat.

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