Illustration by Isabella Paredes.

By Jack Nelson | Staff Writer |

Stress and finals go hand-in-hand. Work can pile up, and many students have to juggle final assignments and exams for multiple classes. With the end of semester crunch, how can students productively handle stress?

“The most important thing is to have a good self care plan and not to let that go,” said Kathy Butts, director of personal counseling and assistant director of Bergeron Wellness Center. “Getting good sleep, eating well, getting fresh air and exercise are all extremely important.” 

Taking care of your body is step one. This period of time is vital to your academic performance because you can relieve stress, be alert, and feel prepared to face multiple tasks. 

“If developing this plan is a challenge, personal counseling at Bergeron is a resource available for students,” Butts said. 

Whether it’s dealing with stress or wanting someone to talk to, Bergeron provides services Monday through Friday for students to meet with counselors for advice or help. 

You don’t have to be alone with the stress, Butts said. “You can ask for help, just to sort it out and to calm down and focus.”

To contact Bergeron Wellness Center, call 802-654-2234 to make an appointment. “Call first thing in the morning. They can usually get you in on the same day.”

A lot of work surrounding finals means planning ahead, which should be done as soon as possible, according to Dina Alsaffar, academic support services specialist at St. Michael’s.  Alsafaar said the three most important steps to prepare for finals are to take good notes, prepare a study schedule and reach out for support.

Rather than studying the night before, Alsafaar also suggests that students review coursework earlier in case you need to seek clarification from professors or tutors. 

“There are plenty of resources at the College to help you out,” Alsafaar said. “Sometimes just talking things out with someone about what work you have to get done and where you feel the stress is coming from is a great way to take a step back and destress while working out a plan. We hope students won’t hesitate to reach out to individuals at the Academic Enrichment Commons or individuals at Bergeron.” 

According to Business Administration and Accounting Professor Alicia Norris, students should consider taking breaks while studying.

“Don’t try to study when you’re tired or when you’re not eating or exercising,” she said. “Go get the run in or the walk in the woods and then come back to it. Take a half hour and make sure you have a fresh brain and mind.”

There are many different methods that students use to study, but there are also others they may not know about. 

“I try to set up study groups for each of my classes,” said Mikael Ameris ’22, a health science major at St. Michael’s. “Depending on the type of final I have, I set specific days to study for specific exams, rather than jumble them all together. That usually helps me.”

Students may not know how to study, or struggle studying for specific subjects or classes. Every week on the third floor of the Durick Library, the Academic Enrichment Commons hosts academic workshops which focus on teaching different methods of time management, study skills and other topics in order to help students perform effectively.

Other resources, like the Writing Center, are available for students to receive support in starting or finalizing their papers. It is located in the Durick Library and is open Sunday to Thursday from 2-9 p.m. Students can meet with writing coaches, who are trained to teach writing and help students. 

One of the most important resources to utilize in the coming weeks are the peer tutors, Alsafaar said. Many classes offer peer tutoring as a way for students to get extra help from students like themselves. These tutors are often able to give you information so that you can read between the lines of your professor’s teaching, such as identifying important information that may be extremely useful.  

Learning different forms of studying is important when preparing for final exams. These include studying in different spaces other than your dorm, such as the Dion Student Center, Durick Library or even classrooms.

“I often tell students to study in the class where they’ll be taking the exam. So there’s something about environmental strategies that help with exams,” said Mary Wright, St. Michael’s school psychologist, learning specialist and collaborative educational consultant. 

According to Alsaffar, replicating test conditions may help, such as timing yourself and practicing the forms of the questions, whether they’re multiple choice, essays or short answers. 

“Testing yourself by rewriting your notes, re-doing previous homework problems, creating a Quizlet, outlining essay questions, and writing sample essays are a sure way of proving to yourself that you understand the material frontwards and backwards, which in effect reduces the fear of the ‘unknown’ going into the exam,” Alsaffar said.

For more information about peer tutoring, either contact your professor or Dina Alsaffar at