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Combating Stress during Finals Week and Beyond

By Danielle Novy '14  |  march, 2013, Issue 1
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Take advantage of the stress-relieving resources that the university offers, especially when preparing for finals.

(CC image courtesy of dcolson5201, Flickr)

As Winter Quarter final exams quickly approach, the University of Chicago's Student Counseling Service has a few tips to help Boothies keep stress to a minimum.

"Sit down and focus on time management," said Psy.D. Mike Pietrus, a staff psychologist at the university's Student Counseling Service. "It's important to make time for self-care, exercise, social activities and sleep."

Pietrus said the on-campus counseling center sees increases in requests for counseling services as students prepare for final exams at the end of each quarter. He advises students manage finals-related stress by maintaining realistic expectations.

"It's important to keep realistic expectations about what people are able to accomplish," he said. "People overestimate what they're able to do and end up getting overwhelmed."

He pointed to a mix of on-campus resources outlined in the info box below for students seeking help in managing stress, starting with the Web site, which outlines the counseling center's offerings, and, which promotes student health and wellness.

University Resources to Help with the Management of Stress:

"Let's Talk" – These free and confidential consultations enable students to speak one-on-one with a counselor without booking an appointment or going through any preliminary needs-assessment steps. Appointments are first-come, first-served, and according to the counseling service's Web site, "usually there is not much of a wait." Information on where and when these free consultations are held can be found at: as the "Let's Talk" sessions take place several times a week, across multiple locations on campus.

"Mindfulness Meditation Workshop" – Held Mondays from 1 to 2 p.m. at Rockefeller Chapel, these free meditation workshops are intended to serve as a tool for managing stress. Each workshop section meets for three consecutive weeks and includes instruction and practice of Mindfulness Meditation techniques. For more information or to register, visit

"Drop-in Mindfulness Meditation Practice" – Students who want to practice formal mindfulness meditation with a group each week can attend these free sessions from 2:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesdays during quarters at Rockefeller Chapel. No registration needed.

"Needs Assessment" – Students looking for on-going counseling can book an intake appointment with the Student Counseling Service to discuss personal concerns and expectations with a counselor, who will determine what services can best assist each student. The services include: psychotherapy, psychiatric consultation, academic skills assessment program, support groups, assessment and treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse, referrals, emergency intervention and health promotion and wellness programs. To make a Needs Assessment appointment, please call (773) 702-9800.

Last Updated 3/14/13
Last Updated 3/14/13