Making our mark in any medium... the official student news of Normal Community High School


Making our mark in any medium... the official student news of Normal Community High School


Making our mark in any medium... the official student news of Normal Community High School


Foregoing the finals frenzy

How to manage the stress of finals

Finals: sleepless nights, endless packets, extensive math problems, undetermined grades, constant studying, stress. A lot of stress. Finals are coming.

Unfortunately, these end-of-the-semester tests are inevitable (unless you’re one of the lucky seniors that has maintained a B and has less than six absences).  Finals at NCHS will occur from December 20 through December 22.

First semester 2016 finals schedule

Fortunately, there are ways to make finals a little more manageable.

Learning Styles

Studying can be an exhausting and rather dull experience, so the first step towards making finals an all-around better event is to jazz up your studying methods. Ms. Kristi White, a counselor at NCHS, recommends finding out what type of learner you are. “If you’re a visual learner, are there different videos or presentations that you could watch to connect with the material? Or if you’re a tactile learner, are there different things that you could do to help you memorize the material such as exercising?”

Group Studying

White also suggests studying in groups. Finding some friends or classmates to study with will give you an accountability partner; they make sure you’re doing your work, and you make sure that they do the same.

Brain Breaks

Though studying is important for many students’ success, high amounts of stress can counteract the hard work that you’ve put in.  “Do not stress yourself out and overload yourself. Make sure you’re giving yourself brain breaks,” advises White.

Take time to listen to music, read a book, or take a nap.  Don’t let your brain become overloaded.

De-stress with Pets

Interaction with pets is a great way to de-stress.  NCHS junior Grace Ariola (Ariola sets sights on Olympic trials) arranged for some dogs to come to the school during finals week to offer stress relief.  They will be in the multi-purpose room on Monday, December 19 from 11:30-1:30.


One of the most effective ways of de-stressing is through exercise. Mrs. Michelle Ehrhardt, a PE teacher, states that exercise “improves self-esteem, elevates and stabilizes mood, increases levels of attention, and can actually improve sleep.”


Another method that some students turn to is meditation.  Mr. Stephen Robinson, a social studies teacher and sponsor of the Mindful Iron club, states that “meditation is the practice of awareness.” He explains that improved awareness leads to a better ability to assess and respond to situations in our lives. “When we are confident in our responses to reality as it is and act accordingly, we are less likely to allow stress to build up and consume us.”

Robinson mentions that although meditation will not eliminate stress completely, it “will help us manage stressful situations and act appropriately and effectively.”

Whether it’s petting a dog or spending some time to meditate, even the smallest attempt to de-stress can make a difference in the long run.

Talk to your Counselor

White also reminds students that “your counselors are always here to help if you’re feeling too overloaded.”

Finals for Freshmen

For freshmen, finals can be a daunting experience despite the advice and general reassurance from teachers and peers. It is a reality of high school, however, so it is important to find techniques that work for you.

Flashcards are a practical studying tool.  Tatiana Villela (12) uses flashcards because writing things down helps with memorization and long-term retention of the material.

Lexi Showalter (11) recommends using finals packets that teachers hand out. She states that the packets are a helpful studying tool because they help refresh the material. They will give a clear idea of what you remember and what you need to brush up on.

Finals for Upperclassmen

For upperclassmen, finals are more routine, and motivation may be lacking. White reminds those students to take them seriously.  “Your grades go with you wherever you go… Especially for those juniors and seniors, colleges are looking at those transcripts and unfortunately they’re with you forever.”

Regardless of how you feel about finals, White reminds students that “it’s something you should take seriously because it will affect your grade one way or another.”

So as finals creep closer and closer, don’t succumb to the stress. Remember, after three days of finals comes two weeks of freedom.

Winter break: sleeping in, endless Netflix shows, extensive time spent with family and friends, constant relaxation, free time. A lot of free time.  Winter break is coming.

About the Contributor
Melissa Schill, Editor in Chief
Melissa Schill is a senior at NCHS. This is her third year working for the Inkspot, and she is the Editor in Chief. Melissa is also involved in the Principal Advisory Committee and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Random fact about me: I was homeschooled in 7th and 8th grade. Farthest I've been from home: Nairobi, Kenya. Likes: Dancing, writing, hiking, and traveling. Guilty pleasure: Brownies and mint chocolate chip ice cream.