University of Kentucky Parent Association

December - Final Exams

Final exam pressures generate anxiety in most students no matter how long they have been at UK, but first-year students who do not know what to expect tend to experience high levels of stress. Social obligations and excitement about the holidays and impending vacation provide distractions for students looking for study breaks.

-Turning to alcohol and drugs to cope with stress

-Neglecting sleep and meals and becoming physically rundown

-Balancing extracurricular activities and class assignments

-Concern about the winter break affecting newly established college relationships

-Readjusting to life at home

-Reconnecting with high school friends

-Missing family holiday traditions

The good news is that most first-year students survive finals and regard this first semester as a great learning experience. It serves as a guide for choosing positive study habits, managing time effectively, and balancing studies and social life in the future.

What Families Can Do

-Reassure your student that these next few weeks may be stressful and challenging, but you will be there to listen.

-Remind your student about using academic support services on campus if he expresses concerns about taking finals and reviewing course materials.

-Encourage your student to eat a balanced diet, get a reasonable amount of sleep, and avoid too -much caffeine.

-Suggest your student participate in stress-reducing activities, such as the annual Finals Midnight Crunch Brunch.

-If your student seems anxious, depressed, or hopeless, recommend she talk with someone at the Counseling Center or the Student Mental Health Service.

-Offer support by phoning, sending e-mails, or writing letters. Do not be offended if your student does not have time to talk or write back while he is studying.

-Send a care package with your student's favorite snacks.

-Make plans for your student's trip home for winter break.

-Include your student in plans for holiday events and activities. Your student may feel excluded if she is on campus studying for finals while the rest of the family is decorating the house or participating in an annual tradition.

-Be prepared for your student to want to spend a lot of his time catching up with high school friends while at home. Communicate with him to make time for family activities, and express your expectations for the break.