Neustadter: CSU students need to take time for themselves during finals

Corinne Neustadter

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

A couple weeks ago, a classmate and I were talking about our workloads. As they were discussing the barrage of tests, papers and meetings in the coming weeks, they mentioned their annoyance at their unproductiveness that day, as the only thing they had done was exercise.

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“(In the long run), what does 50 minutes of cardio do for me?” they asked.

I was surprised by this response, as it signified a persistent and notably unhealthy viewpoint.

Instead of exercise and downtime being viewed as an important part of a healthy routine, it’s viewed as an unproductive waste of time in the eyes of many college students — especially in the midst of finals.

Obviously, studying for finals is an unavoidable stressor that all students will go through in the coming days. With projects, presentations and papers, the push to turn in every last assignment increases with each passing second.

Finals take a large toll on many students, creating anxiety that persists for the entire month of December. Plus, plans for break are also conducted around this time, which can further create pressure or stress.

Although it seems counterproductive to take time off from studying, it’s imperative to make time for yourself each day between mountains of homework.

Although it’s easy to become hyper-focused on studying, it’s also important to step back and become aware of your needs. Self-care activities, such as exercise or yoga, can create perspective during one of the most stressful times of the year.

However, by becoming singleminded in preparing for impending finals, students disregard their personal well-being and can develop unhealthy routines in the name of grades.

Spending hours upon hours on a single task, such as studying, has been linked to worse long-term memory, making it less productive. Simply taking a break during a study session may feel unproductive, but it can improve decision-making and motivation while lowering fatigue. 

woman does yoga
A student does yoga as a form of relaxation Oct. 18, 2019. Timed breaks, relaxation and exercise can be as helpful to a student’s academic success as studying. (Ryan Schmidt | The Collegian)

Making time for yourself at this time of the year might seem unfeasible or near impossible. But even the simplest of study breaks can help you focus and lower stress. Personally, I am a big fan of “Saturday Night Live” skits, as corny as that might be.

Taking a breather and de-stressing is an important skill to practice as semester stress increases to an all-time high. Although it seems counterproductive to take time off from studying, it’s imperative to make time for yourself each day between mountains of homework.

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In the long term, those 50 minutes of cardio can make you more productive and less stressed. And in the home stretch of the semester, those are qualities we could all benefit from.

Corinne Neustadter can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @CorinneN14.