10 Ways to be the Stress Relief Your Friends Need During Exam Season

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We’ve all endured major stress. Whether surviving a tediously hard test or the horrors of midterms and finals, every college student has felt the weight of studying and, therefore, the self-inflicted solitary confinement of stress. Thankfully, though, your stressful moments do not need to happen in isolation nor do you need to leave your friends wallowing in their own sorrow.

Follow these 10 ways to offer your friends stress relief in times of studious stupor.

1. Be their Source of Encouragement



Sometimes, all it takes to lift your comrades’ spirits involves speaking encouraging words into the air. When it comes to cramming for the sake of keeping that GPA tolerable, a kind moment proves essential. Whether it includes a spoken word, a chant or even a sticky note on the bathroom mirror, take some time to make yourself your friends’ number one cheerleader. “When somebody is thinking about you enough to let you know they’re rooting for you, it’s just a nice feeling because you know that they’ll be there for you even if everything doesn’t go perfectly,” Florida State University freshman Emma Jones said.

2. Give Them Freedom to Ramble

No, it probably won’t make sense when they talk. They’ve probably locked themselves in the library for six hours in complete isolation. When they call you, let them ramble about how annoying their professor conducts his lectures, even if their words come out as complete nonsense. Verbally expressing your frustrations makes them much easier to digest and move past, so offer that escape to save your friends’ sanity.

3. Play the Student

Along the lines of rambling, it may help your friend stress less if they have someone to discuss or teach their learnings. “For me, the only way I’m confident [that] I have learned the material is when I’m able to teach it to a friend without stumbling over it,” FSU freshman Grace Gilbert said. If you really value the sanity of your bestie, it may help to sit and listen to them lecture for a few minutes. Or a couple hours.

4. Give them Incentives to Finish

Studying for tests can make a student feel like life might just end. Studying often seems like a tunnel with no light at the end (or an end to the countless pages). “Having future plans with friends allows you to recognize how much time you have to allocate to things like assignments that come before the, and therefore, you can better manage your time, and get your schoolwork done without worry,” FSU freshman Kira Green said. Remind your friends that every hour spent in the books brings them one step closer to getting back to a life outside of studying. Give them motivation by scheduling exciting plans that you guys will do the moment after their big test finishes.

5. Grant them the Laughter of an Inside Joke

Nothing consoles the soul more powerfully than a good laugh. That laugh holds even more power if it is produced from an inside moment the two of you spent together or in your close circle. Think about spending a couple extra dollars on an item that can sit at your friend’s desk to remind them to laugh when they’d rather scream in terror about that calculus test coming up.

6. Keep them Hydrated

When cramming, everyone tends to simply fill up with caffeine. After all, you need something strong enough to keep you awake at 3 a.m. when you find yourself still up and studying. However, coffee doesn’t cut it when it comes to refreshing your brain. So, make sure your friends have a good source of H2O in their lives.

7. Bless them with Caffeination

Okay, yeah, staying hydrated matters, but get real for a second: No matter what the health pros say, caffeine is as equally important as H2O when you hit the books. “Coffee always helps me stay focused and keeps me on track,” FSU sophomore Rachel Alba said. Don’t underestimate the importance of just how much your friend will adore you if you walk in holding their favorite Venti Cappuccino from Starbucks. Also, in the words of the esteemed Disney Character Mary Poppins, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” so make sure the barista throws some of that in the coffee as well.

8. Make them Eat

And by “eat,” I mean make sure they devour more food than just granola bars. If possible, force them to grab dinner with you, but if necessary, simply bring them a serving of substance to replenish their mind. “A friend bringing me dinner [alleviates] stress because then I don’t have to worry about the time or money it would take to buy or make it myself. Also, it allows me to have a short but purposeful break from studying, which is also very beneficial,” FSU sophomore Makaela Tippins said.

9. Force Migration out of Books and Into Bed

Yes, sometimes all-nighters force themselves upon unfortunate souls. Equally as important as a good study session, though, is the importance of a good night’s sleep. Don’t let your friend lock themselves up to study for the entirety of final’s week. Drag them off their textbooks and into bed when the time comes.

10. Remind them to Live Outside of Studying

Some people honestly don’t know when to stop studying (or stop stressing) and live a little. Save the day by being the super friend who reminds that person to chill and allow themselves freedom from books for a while. Get them to go outside, relax and just hang out. You may need to use persuasive methods such as convincing your friend that this mental break will actually help their brain rest and allow them to study better later. Use whatever means necessary.

Disclaimer: your friend may not have the energy to express their true appreciation at the time these kind actions are performed. Trust me, though, they will thank you for this later—probably after they ace their test due to you being a great friend.

A Sophomore at Florida State University. Currently majoring in Communications/Media Studies with hopes of pursuing a job where I am paid for asking people lots of questions and writing down their life stories.

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