November 16, 2011

Facing finals onslaught

With finals season upon us, so is the stress, the coffee-binging and the all-nighters.These tests have begun to take their toll on the student body, extending beyond basic stress and, for some, having a physical effect.
Sleep walking, sleep talking, insomnia, back pain and stomach irritation are all symptoms sophomore Amanda Axley complained of in reference to finals season.
“I’m really tired. I’m not horribly stressed out, but I’m just busy and tired. I don’t normally notice the stress until it begins to manifest itself physically,” she said.
For her, the most frustrating component of finals has been the physical agitation. “It’s really hard to concentrate and study when you’re not feeling well,” she said.
Studying began for Axley two weeks ago “and it’s been non-stop fun ever since,” she said. Axley is hesitant to stop studying, knowing that she’ll have very little downtime in the coming week.
She left her note cards out during her interview and would casually glance at them throughout the conversation.
“You get to the point where it’s exciting to take a shower. It’s pathetic, but it’s just nice to do anything that isn’t finals-related,” she said.
Axley is a huge advocate for self-bribery as a means of motivation.
“I make a deal where if I do such and such a thing I get chocolate, or I get to take a walk downtown or I get to go play piano. Though I’m music major, so I suppose playing piano is a form of study.”
With winter break in sight, “I’m just excited to sleep. I’m going to sleep a lot and I’m going to read a book. I’m really excited about that. I’ve already got the book picked out. It’s keeping me going,” she said.
For sophomore Kailee Gawlik, the finals season began when she started studying about two weeks ago. She described the process as, “just a total drain, a complete lack of free time. But I keep telling myself that Thanksgiving, a.k.a turkey and joy, are around the corner.”

Social networking sites like Facebook have been Gawlik’s largest draw for study breaks.
“You get to the point where you just physically can’t study anymore. You need a break, and then something like Facebook is great. It’s easy to access and perfect for a five-minute break,” she said.
Gawlik said that she has been “a little anxious. I think that I can handle it, I’m just mentally drained right now so it seems worse than it is.”
Though she tries not to take too many of them, Gawlik said that these breaks helped to keep her going. “Despite the fact that at this moment I’m getting enough sleep, I feel exhausted constantly,” she said.
This exhaustion, accompanied with stress and anxiety is something junior John Cusimano feels as well. ”I’m tired all the time and I feel ill, I feel nauseas and I don’t eat regularly,” he said. He doesn’t rely on the same motivating techniques as other students. He said he was just looking forward to when finals would finally be over and he could go home and see his brothers.

Samantha Paul
Samantha Paul is a senior double majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She previously served as both a news reporter and a copy editor for TKS. During the summer of 2012, Sam served as press chair of a literacy brigade in El Salvador. She has also interned with both Bloom Magazine and The Galesburg Register-Mail. At Knox, Sam is an organizational editor for Catch magazine.


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