Breath In, Breath Out: Managing the Stress of Midterms


Photo by Adam Sullens

Students must take time to relax during midterms. Take study breaks and breathe. Establish and utilize a support system.

Written by Bethany Spitzmiller, Managing Editor

  The week of midterms is one of the most stressful times during the semester for students, but stress is normal and even necessary for growth. There are three types of stress  positive, tolerable and toxic. Students must learn to manage all three types throughout their life. 

  A person experiences positive stress when they are pushed out of their comfort zone, and they must learn to adapt. They grow and develop from these experiences, and being challenged is one of the best ways to grow. A midterm is a great example of positive stress. 

  Tolerable stress is when something bad happens, but the person experiencing it has a support system. Midterms should be positive. However, some midterms cause students to put additional stress on themselves, which can make midterms harder than they need to be. Remember to establish a supportive environment. 

  Friends, family, professors and faculty should be available support systems, but there are also multiple resources on campus to support students. The UCM Counseling Center even offers a weekly workshop series designed to strengthen students’ mental fitness and skills for managing life’s challenges.

  Toxic stress is severe and occurs when someone doesn’t have a support system. Remember to breathe and find support, regardless of the level of stress. 

  Many communication students know to take their “mindful minutes” to calm their minds of any distractions before class, but taking a couple minutes to process thoughts before starting something new is a good strategy to focus and calmly be aware of feelings and situations for students from any major. If stress becomes overwhelming, close those eyes and take a few minutes to breathe. Mental health and stress management are just as important as studying for those tests.