Upcoming finals week leads students to focus on their mental health


Taylor Neal

During finals week, most students spend their nights studying for their exams.

Taylor Neal, Copy Editor

It is that time of year yet again. The holidays are quickly approaching, snow has started falling and you know what that means, finals are right around the corner.

A lot of high school students accept the fact that finals are here and get into the routine of hours of studying per night beginning the week or so leading up to the tests. Many high school students can agree that this week or two leading up to finals is very stressful, but do finals play a role in impacting the mental health of high school students?

Most classes have a final that contributes to students’ overall grade at the end of the semester. Since the start of COVID-19, some classes have moved away from traditional finals. Some have switched to projects, or just ended the year with whatever unit they are on in a traditional test.

Despite not having on average as many finals as years past, students still feel the pressure of finals week approaching. Senior Haley Fredricks expresses how she feels finals are just another additional thing to worry about because of how busy she is during the month of December.

“I really just feel like finals [change] my mindset. The month of December for me is really full and I usually end up staying [up] later than I usually do but for some reason, I’m not tired because I know that I need to get my work done,” Fredricks said.

With a lot of sports being in season or starting up around this time, sometimes student-athletes are left with the decision to try to study for their final, or go to practice or a game. This leads to students becoming stressed out, as they feel they did not have enough time or as much time to study for the tests as they could of had because of their sport. Sophomore Chrissa Demos explains how her club volleyball starts up right in time with finals.

“Finals have been especially stressful during the month of December due to my club volleyball season starting up in the holidays coming up,” Demos said.

One of the biggest stressors for students is that most finals are mandatory. Students with a borderline grade feel extra pressure, as the final could make or break their grade they had the entire semester.

“Our finals are mandatory. It kind of stresses me out because finals tend to be mandatory classes that I have a borderline grade in. For example my math class I have a 90.2% and our final is mandatory so that does really stress me out,” Fredricks said.

A big theme across students is that they become more stressed out than normal during this week. Between the majority of classes having a test during finals week, and trying to keep grades stable, students feel a heightened level of pressure to keep up the work, or to improve a grade.

“ [My mental health] definitely changes drastically because I’m very stressed about my grades and keeping the grades and classes the way they are,” Demos said.

During finals week, more students feel the stress of school and sometimes become overwhelmed, and might feel more inclined to use the counseling and support services that the school offers. Counselor Lavon Robinson explains how DGS accommodates students that need extra support during this time.

“I like to keep my calendar open to meet with students that are having a tough time and need to talk in the moment. We try to see students I feel might be very stressed or are at risk of failing classes in the final month of the school year to check-in regarding their mental health and strategies to improve. As well, we advocate to teachers as needed for adjustments to be for students that are struggling,” Robinson said.

There are also steps that a student can take on their own to help cope with the stress and frustration they might be dealing with during the week.

“I think mental health care should not be something that students only think about during finals time. During finals time in particular, as counselors we encourage students to keep things in perspective, use their coping skills, utilize activities that help them relax, and lean on family/friends/counselors for support,” Robinson said.

Some may wonder about the benefits of taking away finals for high school students. Fredricks explains how she thinks not having finals would benefit her and her mental health.

“I feel like the benefits of not having finals is that you can just feel comfortable and all of the work that you’ve done is already in for the year. My favorite thing is when the final is optional so you are making the decision for yourself to choose whether or not you want to put in your effort, or if it’s even necessary to put in any effort,” Fredricks said.