Albright College


Fighting Off Finals
by Nicole Kelly '12

After months of procrastination, finals week can send many spiraling into sheer panic. Across campuses, students would agree, there are never enough hours in a day; this is only intensified during, what has appropriately come to be known as, Crunch Week. Not everyone can micromanage their time accordingly, however students should not look to specific “aides” to get them through it. Simple health risks can be avoided, which can then make your finals week more productive and less stressful.

Caffeine is most common in aiding students to do more with less time. Excess and abuse of caffeine can lead to heart problems and reactions of nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, headaches, tremors, dizziness, and numbness have also been reported. Caffeine hides itself in many products such as energy drinks, coffee, sodas, and energy shots but also in products less known such as tea, chocolate, some pain-relievers and cough medicines, and diet pills. It takes your liver an average of 8 – 10 hours to absorb only about 75% of the caffeine you put into your body. In moderation, caffeine is essential to the body, but it carries a highly addictive quality, thus take with caution.

ADD or ADHD affect less then a quarter of the population, but in the past decade there has been a momentous increase of nearly 80% in the misuse of these prescribed medications. Abuse of such medication as Adderall and Ritalin, have been seen to be linked to drug and alcoholism or dependence. The “high” they cause is similar to that found in cocaine. If they are not prescribed to you it is best to stay away; side effects typically include rapid heartbeat, rejection of food, nausea, vomiting, and jittered or unfocused actions.

An essential body function, skipped most frequently during large periods of stress is sleep. Sleep is one of the most important things for anybody, let alone a growing body; without it, you run a higher risk of sickness or injury, headaches and fatigue, and stress and anxiety. Simple studies have shown that one can be most productive with at least 8 hours of sleep, breakfast and other healthy meals and snacks, and exercise of at least 30 minutes.

Alcohol typically depresses the nervous system while energy drinks typically heighten the body; these two opposites, working together, have been found to triple the risk of getting drunk. On average it takes a mere 5 drinks in two hours for a male to be legally intoxicated, and similarly only 4 drinks for a female. Consider that statistic... it is under normal circumstances. Thus, in relation to finals week, you must recognize your lack of sleep, dehydration, and mental exhaustion; with these, you can expect to find completely different results. The likelihood of intoxication increases greatly and can leave you with a much worse hangover.

Underestimates on eating and sleeping habits as well as intensifying our emotional stresses, have been shown to drastically divert the energy supplies within our bodies. The following are simple ways to manage your energy, and health, better:

  • Eat breakfast, and smaller meals with snacks in between.
  • Stay hydrated, as an alternative to multiple energy supplements.
  • Shower more frequently, as you are “burning out” to help take the edge off and wake your body.
  • Dress “productively”, your outward appearance motives and influences your mood.
  • Communicate, whether to do work or just to express feelings, it is good to interact with others.
  • Listen to music, it has been shown to effect your mood, energy, and tension.
  • Clean something, besides feeling accomplished you are able to be in control of something.
  • Exercise, it is proven to help your sleep and it releases endorphins.

However, the best way to never feeling panicked, stressed, or overwhelmed is to simply PLAN AHEAD. Good Luck.

The above information is compiled from various sources, including WebMD and Elaine Pasqua.

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