Stress-relieving tips for finals week

On-campus resources for students

Ella Freeman

More stories from Ella Freeman

Across the Pond
April 28, 2024

Photo by Ella Freeman

Luigi, a therapy dog, wishes you the best of luck.

UW-Eau Claire finals week is May 15-19 and this can be a stressful time, but the campus has resources to help reduce stress for students. 

According to the director of libraries, Jill Markgraf, the McIntyre Library is doing a lot to help reduce stress for all students. 

Markgraf said the library is offering several extra stress-relieving opportunities and brain breaks along with their regular peaceful studying environment. 

“We offer stress relievers like therapy dogs and are having pancakes with the chancellor event on May 16. We also have coloring activities in the Makerspace, and the Rest Nest will be operating at its usual hours,” Markgraf said. 

There are 26 scheduled therapy dog visits between May 8 and May 19. These visits are held in the library right off the main desk area, according to Markgraf. 

“We observe that students connect with each other when they are gathered around the therapy dogs. They share their stories and anxieties along with offering each other support. It’s often about more than the dogs,” Markgraf said. 

Markgraf said she believes that students love the minimalist nature and silence that the study rooms provide — these can be a great place to prepare for an exam-heavy week. 

“Librarians can help you find the information and the research you need, but they do much more. They can help you winnow through the overabundance of information to zero in on the good stuff, the credible and relevant and appropriate resources for your needs,” Markgraf said.

According to Markgraf, getting enough sleep and taking breaks is extremely important. She said there is a reason the library doesn’t stay open 24 hours — they are trying to promote healthy studying habits. 

“In addition to the usual events, we have recently added hammocks to accommodate a quick nap or a comfortable read. You can check out a hammock at the desk and take it outside or to the new hammock frames in the library,” Markgraf said. 

These new additions are in place specifically to help students during stress-heavy times, such as finals week. 

“The library is your space — we are here to help you be successful, in your academics and life and in the balance between the two,” Markgraf said. “A lot of the ideas we have for supporting students came from students. If you have an idea, we want to hear it. Take care of yourself. You’ve got this and we have your back.” 

Along with library resources, Counseling Services on campus also offer stress-relieving opportunities. 

According to Riley McGrath, counselor and director of Counseling Services, there is a wellness stress reduction run and walk at Putnam Park on Tuesday, May 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event is to help students take a much-needed break and get outside.   

“We have our general services and we know that this is a very stressful time for students so our drop-in counseling is still available during finals, and we know and are prepared for it will be utilized more during this time,” McGrath said 

McGrath recommends students take many brain breaks and walk away from their study spots and get out of their heads. He said it’s important to remind themselves of how much they have accomplished this year. 

“You’re not always going to bring a B up to an A, so just remember what is feasible and try to focus on the positives and be proud of yourself for making it through the semester,” McGrath said. 

When counselors are not available, McGrath said he recommends calling the 24-hour mental health support line at 888-531-2142.

“It’s really important to not get out of your normal routine, especially with sleeping and eating, it does more harm to stay up all night studying. It’s important to look ahead and schedule times to study,” McGrath said. 

Freeman can be reached at [email protected].