Supporting Your Student during Finals Week - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Higher Education The College
April 28, 2020

Supporting Your Student during Finals Week

Your student is entering one of the most stressful weeks in a semester of full of stress - Finals Week. Here’s how you, parent or guardian, can support good performance and good health as they finish strong in this most unusual time in our lives.

1) Remind your student of Geneva resources

From the Writing Center to their professors and many resources in-between, your student has access to people who can help them achieve their goals on their final exams and papers. This time of year would normally be one where study groups would get together on campus - classmates are a great resource. Encourage your student to connect remotely with their fellow Genevans for support.

2) Show you care, but give them space

Your student is likely as busy as ever right now. And they need your moral support. Try an encouraging word each morning. Pray for them and with them for the upcoming tests. But go easy on the parental advice. They also need space to work in a way they have learned in college to get ready for the week to come. A little support goes a long way.

3) Remind your student to take breaks

It might be surprising to learn how much work your student needs to do in earning a Geneva education. While some students are all about breaks from studying, your student might need to be reminded to balance work with rest. In some contexts, a regime of shorter, repeated intervals of study, called spaced repetition, can be more effective than longer, more intense study (Smolen, Zhang, & Byrne, 2016). Having a coffee with your student, eating lunch together or taking a walk while you are home together are treats that can help you both.

4) Articulate the benefits of sleep

When under stress and feeling deadlines pressing, your student may get into the habit of working late into the night or next morning. You likely can't enforce a bedtime on your 19 year old, but you can bring to mind the real benefits of a good night's sleep. Tell them that the mind can reinforce the material they are studying if they sleep on it. A good night's sleep is likely a prerequisite for better performance than a few extra hours of cramming. 

5) Let them learn how to deal with the stress

Some healthy level of stress is a good thing; it motivates us to do our best. If your student is feeling enough stress to be motivated and not too much that they have drastic behavior or personality changes, they are probably dealing with it in a healthy way. They are also learning how to deal with stressful situations, and this experience will help them weather the storms of life ahead.

Parents, you are more important in your college student's life now that they are living and studying in your home instead of on campus. Following the tips above can help your student finish the semester strong and take steps toward being the mature person they are meant to be.