The Stress of Finals


By Griffith Jennings

It’s finals week everybody, and you know what that means. Long hours of studying, last minute pleas for better grades, and stress.

As a senior at Granada Hills Charter High School (GHC), this will be the seventh time I will be undergoing finals week and dealing with the stress that comes with it.

Many students experience high levels of stress when they are taking and studying for finals. Oftentimes, your final exams can determine your final grade for the semester.

Some may consider high levels of stress to be a normal part of the high school experience, however stress has significant negative effects on the body.

Common physical stress-related symptoms include headaches, muscle tension or pain, chest pain, and fatigue. Stress does not just affect your body, however. It can have a negative impact on your emotional health as well.

Common effects of stress on your mood include anxiety, restlessness, lack of motivation, feeling overwhelmed, irritability, and sadness.

All of these symptoms can make finals week a difficult time. Too often I have seen students in a state of panic because of their finals.

Additionally, students eat more unhealthily during finals week than they do during the rest of the semester. An unhealthy diet can multiply your stress and make life even more difficult. Junk food gives you instant energy or a sugar high, but it negatively affects your concentration and memory and will end in a food coma or sugar crash.

While high levels of stress can be very demanding on the body, there is a certain level of stress needed in a student’s life in order to complete difficult tasks.

“Staying stress-free is important, but stress is not inherently bad for students. There is an ideal level of stress for each one of us, which helps motivate us to do our best. When we are functioning at that ideal level, we are sufficiently pushed to do our best, yet not paralyzed by the results of excessive stress. The goal is to find the ideal stress level and then try to stay there,” Carol Moran-Brown, senior director of the Counseling Center at Champlain College said.

In a study conducted by New York University nearly half (49%) of all high school students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis. Stress commonly leads to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety and 26% of participants, reported symptoms of depression at a clinically significant level.

Some schools as well as classes here at GHC have started to switch final exams to final projects in order to lessen stress. Nevertheless, it is very difficult to come up with a concrete solution for finals week stress. Some students feel stress more than others and there will always be some people who are stressed.

Ultimately, the stress associated with finals week make student life more difficult. High schoolers should not be subjected to these extreme levels of stress. 

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