‘Crunch time’


Clara Oesterling

Stress from finals can cause students to have tiredness, worry and disturbed sleep patterns, according to Bachelors Degree Online, GPAs are improving.

Michael Hood, Reporter

Although the month of December is associated with the holidays and the end of semester, it is one of the most stressful months of the year, according to Mayo Clinic. The clinic found that a combination of increased productivity needed at work, having to deal with family for holiday functions and buying gifts all contribute to the stress.

In addition to these wintertime duties, students also face the task of finals, something that may add to the holiday stress. While the common perception about finals is that it is a stress and anxiety packed week, it is just another week for some students.

Junior Colston Streit is straight-A student enrolled in AP classes, along with participating in orchestra, tennis and playing piano in his spare time. With all of these activities clogging up his time, he says he has became quite accustomed to the stress. For him, finals are no more stressful than any other time of the year.

“If I am particularly worried about (a test), I might watch review videos online, but I usually don’t put too much thought into it,” Streit said.

Streit says that although he is not stressed for finals week overall, he does have classes that worry him. AP Biology has forced him to worry about his grade enough to which has caused him to feel a little bit of anxiety.

“There is just so much content, and we learn it so fast,” Streit said. “Every test is weighted at about 70 percent of your grade, so it is pretty stressful.”

Sophomore Alex Stash has also began to feel the pressure that comes around at the end of the semester during finals week. Stash says he is spending his recent time worrying about math and English finals instead of being able to enjoy the holiday season to its full extent.

“I usually start to feel the pressure about a week before, when (the teachers) start handing out the (study guides) to prepare us,” Stash said. “You have all (of) this vocab to remember, all (of) these theorems, (and) it is so much.”

Anxiety affects one out of every four Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 in some form, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Anywhere between 16 to 20 percent of all students, according to the American Tests Anxieties Association, suffer from test anxiety.

The anxiety originates from studying a substantial amount of time and from the pressure of needing to get the desired grade, according to the Tests Association.

“It is more like crunch time and you have to get on it and focus on that specific thing,” Stash said, “especially if your grade is lower than you want it to be.”

Math teacher Donna Sekhon has a much different perspective from Streit and Stash. Sekhon has been teaching at SHS for over ten years, so she is knowledgeable about finals and the anxiety that comes along with it.

While her perspective as a teacher is different, she still feels the anxiety that comes with finals just as much as students do. Students stress about taking six final exams, however, Sekhon has to worry about proctoring 150 final exams and grading them in a timely manner.

The stress that comes with finals has led to a large amount of high school students seeking an alternative route, according to CNN. One of their polls shows that 75 percent of high schoolers have engaged in “serious cheating,” and that 50 percent do not consider copying answers as cheating.

Where almost every high school student has a smartphone, cheating has become so much easier in the Information Age. According to US News, one third of teens use smartphones to cheat during tests.

Cheating can be seen by some students as a stress reliever, however, it only adds to the teachers’ workload. While Sekhon has not had any serious encounters with cheating during her tenure at SHS, she says she does not worry about it too much.

“I don’t know how they would cheat on (my final),” Sekhon said. “I am much more concerned about the students that need to study because they’re on that border between passing and failing.”

Sekhon has two kids of her own, she worries about her students just as much as her own kids.

“Some of my students are like my daughter, they study, they’re prepared.” said Sekhon. “Then, some are more like my son, a little less so.”

According to a study done at Montana State University, the most important thing to do is to begin studying early. If it is already too late, then it is important to stick to one regular routine. According to the study, the most important thing to do before a big test is to remain calm, eat healthy and get plenty of rest.