As students find themselves in the home stretch of the semester with final projects and exams looming, they may begin feeling stressed or overwhelmed. After polling some current U-M students about what they would want their parents and families to know about supporting them through finals, there were four resounding themes that we heard:
“Be prepared not to hear from us as often.”
With the need to focus in on studies, students may not be quick to call you back or respond to text messages, especially if questions are involved. They still love you and appreciate your reaching out, but might need some space during this time.
“Simple texts or messages of encouragement are welcome, but questions may cause more stress.”
Well intentioned as they may be, students reported that questions such as “Are you getting enough sleep?” “When are you coming home for break?” or “Have you made that outline for your study guide yet?” may cause more harm than good. Thus, they recommended messages such as “Thinking of you” “Good luck today” or “You’re almost there!” as that can motivate, uplift, and let your student know that you are there in case they need extra support.
“Consider sending a care package or a gift card to a coffee shop or restaurant we like.”
With time limited, students may not prioritize healthy eating. Aside from feeling warm and fuzzy from receiving a gift from parents and family members, a gift card or care package also has the opportunity to promote healthy choices.
“Know the resources on campus in case we show a need for it.”
Some popular resources that students utilize to successfully get through finals are listed below:
- Hearing advice from peers can be helpful. Campus Information’s "Victor Views" blog provides student advice on navigating U-M, including tips on getting through finals.
- Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers the Wellness Zone where students can use massage chairs, light therapy, the napping area, and much more if they are feeling stressed or need a break. CAPS also provides the “Stress Busters” app that students can access to receive wellness messages, calming audio tracks to use while studying or taking a break, and much more.
- The Sweetland Writing Center is a helpful resource for students needing assistance with writing papers and essays.
Ultimately though, it is important to recognize that each person responds to stress differently. Thus, the students with whom we spoke regarding this topic reported that you probably know what your student needs when they are stressed. As parents and family members, know that you are a valuable support system to helping students be leaders at their best.
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