Those Feelings Before Finals: How To Deal

A young woman and young man sit at a table in a classroom and study together.

The last few weeks of the semester have a way of becoming all kinds of Too Much. You’re cramming for final exams, finishing up last minute projects, and speed-typing final papers, all while attempting to balance the busyness of life’s schedule. Sometimes we feel like we have a good handle on things, and other times we do not.

When this happens, one must remember to put their own well-being first by practicing adequate self-care. Yes, self-care can show up as long hot showers after a hard day, ice-cream indulgences and conversations with good friends over coffee, but other times good self-care requires a more structured and professional framework. Many UC offices offer programs and services designed to help students cope with the Too Much—the anxieties that come with the last few weeks of the semester and the overall stresses of graduate school.

The Campus Rec Center

Sometimes the best cure is the medicine of movement. If you’re not exactly in the mood to talk (or think, for that matter) the campus rec center offers endless ways to get your body moving, endorphins pumping, and sweat the stress away. Group fitness classes are offered daily, at all hours (yoga, cycling, Zumba, and kickboxing!) and act as great ways to not only exercise the edge away, but to socialize and meet new people. If you’d rather find a space to blow off steam alone, try running on the indoor track or one of their many exercise machines. Utilize one of the mats for some quiet meditation and stretching, give the climbing wall a try (all harnesses and shoe rentals are free), and take a dip in the shallow-water leisure pool to cool off at the end.

The Student Wellness Center

Empowering students to make informed decisions regarding their health and wellness, the Student Wellness Centermay be one of the best places on campus for students to find inclusive resources and non-judgmental support. A self-proclaimed “collection of resources and information about various health and wellness topics,” The Student Wellness Center is a safe space to freely discuss general health and wellness, body image, alcohol, financial wellness, sexual health, stress management, and drugs. Students are encouraged to stop in during office hours to talk and pick up a variety of free health products. Office is located directly above Starbucks on the 6th floor of Steger Student Life Center.

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS)

CAPS offers Let’s Talk sessions weekly, providing easy access to clinicians and structured counseling specifically designed for students who may not need traditional counseling but could still benefit from one-on-one support. It’s a casual but still confidential (and free!) approach to mental health counseling. And if you’re still feeling like you need more support? CAPS offers 50 minute Intake Interviews where their trained professionals will learn more about you and your concerns in depth, and afterwards match you with the services they think will best benefit your needs (meditation rooms, individual therapy, group therapy, and case management are just a few examples).


When something goes wrong and you aren’t sure who can help, University Ombuds has your back. All students are welcome to bring their university-related issues to the office. Whether you’re having problems in the lab, a class, or conflicting with your academic advisor, Ombuds is here to assist you.  Ombuds staff provide a safe space for neutral and informal conflict resolution in terms of university related issues—and will get only as involved as you wish them to, from simply offering advice to diving into the situation head-one. Ombuds also offers a variety of training programs and workshops to understand students’ understanding of conflict and how best to manage that conflict. From simple mediation to heavy conflict coaching, Ombuds has your back.


Written by Danniah Daher, graduate assistant to the graduate school office.