How to Help Your College Student During Finals
The end of the semester means a lot of things for college students and their families. Everyone is most likely looking forward to a well-deserved break or holiday. Families are excited to have the student back at home for a few days. However, the end of the semester also means the coming of the dreaded Finals Week. Your college-attending child is most likely feeling the stress and anxiety that can accompany this time. Luckily, there are a few things that you as a parent can do to help them survive finals.
- Let Them Know You Care
Your child might be more independent than they were a year or so ago, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need you. Letting them know that you know tests are coming up will help them understand that they have people behind them. Even a simple “good luck” over a text can make a difference in their confidence. If you have the resources available, send them a study care package – fill it with healthy snacks, coffee, highlighters, anything you think might make their study-time easier. Don’t forget to throw in a handwritten note expressing your confidence in them.
- Remind Them to Stay Healthy
Without you around to remind your student to eat their vegetables and get plenty of sleep, they might struggle to take care of themselves properly. Gently remind them about eating enough, especially at breakfast. Emphasize the importance of eating the right foods, as well.
Sleep is another aspect of health that tends to fall by the wayside for college students. Late-night cram sessions can impede a good night’s sleep and don’t really accomplish much. Sleep is crucial for information retention, so remind your child that if they want to be able to recall the information they’re cramming, they must get a good 8 hours of sleep before the test. An all-nighter is a definite no-no.
- Keep a Close Eye on Mental Health
If your student is new to college, they may be struggling to adapt to the new demands and challenges they’re experiencing. As their family, you will be most in tune with any changes that may occur in their mental state. Talk to them often and ask about their stress levels. Remember that a bit of stress is okay and can even be a helpful motivator. However, too much stress can cause bigger problems.
Upon noticing any change that causes you to worry, or if stress is becoming too much for them to handle appropriately, remind them of stress-reduction strategies they can try. Planning ahead, setting aside time for a nap, or taking daily walks can all be helpful in managing stress. If they still seem overwhelmed, encourage them to seek support from on-campus mental-health services; they usually specialize in school-related stress issues and will have several strategies or other solutions for your student to try. Don’t forget that mental health is more important than a good GPA.
- Find Out What’s Going on On-Campus
College campuses offer fun activities and events almost daily. If your student is too stressed to seek them out, or if they tend to spend most of their free time studying in the library, do a bit of research on the school’s website to find out what activities are happening. Especially around finals time, lots of campuses do stress-relief events like “puppy corners” or bouncy castles. Let them know what you find that might relieve a bit of stress.
College isn’t easy, especially when tests are coming up. You can become a super-parent to your college student by following the above tips. When in doubt, just let your child know you are there for them. The rest will come easy once they know they can rely on you for support.