Tips to Help Your Students Navigate Stress During Finals, Holidays

  • November 29th, 2022

The fall semester is wrapping up and supporting students to reach the finish line is more important than ever.

Not only must they wrap up those final projects, papers and exams, but they must also choose how to spend their time between semesters. For many, all of this will go smoothly; for some it will be challenging.

Some of the challenges students may face:

  • Realizing they don’t have much time to confront their semester-long procrastination.
  • Cramming their study time, which can result in poor sleep and impaired cognitive functioning. This in turn can lead to last-minute panic and problematic communication patterns.
  • Realizing they may not recover from poor academic performance in time for the visit home.
  • Dealing with high anxiety over maintaining high, unreasonable standards regarding their grades.
  • Parental assessment of responsible living, along with the rewards or consequences that may be involved.
  • Preparing themselves (or not) to manage stressful situations at home and/or with their friends.
  • Making conscious choices about healthy behaviors with respect to diet and holiday festivities.

Faculty and staff can help support students during this time in several ways.

  • Be aware that all of us can experience a variant of one or more of these themes, so take time to take care of yourself, too! Many helpful options exist for you through Human Resources.
  • It may help to refresh your memory concerning effective stress management skills for students. Also, visit Health Promotion and Wellness for great information concerning many health and health-related behavior issues for students.
  • Spot the signs of seasonal stress in students, including fatigue, agitation, feeling jittery or shaky, muscle tension, headaches, feeling drained or overwhelmed, restlessness and poor concentration.
  • Engage the student in a brief conversation about how they are doing. Should you notice they are so distressed their overall functioning is impaired (in college students this can mean not eating, not sleeping, missing classes or work), refer them to the Counseling Center, Student Health Center, Student Care and Well-being, and/or other supportive and academic resources as appropriate.

As always, consult with the Counseling Center at 205-348-3863 for any questions you may have.

Counseling Center services for students are accessible.

Same-day consult appointments are available every weekday and are only scheduled the day of. These are 30-minute phone consultations with a therapist and can be used by any student at any time.

Generally, students can get an in-person screening appointment within one to two weeks. While there are times of the year when new client screening appointments have a longer wait, they’ve rarely exceeded two weeks. For fall 2022, the average wait time for a new screening appointment was 7.6 days.

Please encourage students to reach out to the Counseling Center at 205-348-3863 for information on current appointment availability and to schedule appointments.

New Resource for Students

Students now have access to an online peer support community called TogetherAll.

TogetherAll’s online community is clinically moderated by mental health professionals and offers students a safe and anonymous place to express their thoughts, concerns and triumphs. Resources are free for students (aged 16+) to use and are available 24/7 year-round. Students can give and get support from others as well as use mental health and well-being courses and resources. To learn more, watch this short explainer video. It’s free, anonymous, and available now. Students can sign up for TogetherAll here.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.