​How Families Can Help Students Deal with End of Semester Stress

The end-of-semester stress is a very real thing for students on every college campus.

If you sense that your child may be experiencing a stress meltdown, you may feel helpless. The reality is that, in most cases, you should let your child deal with his or her situation. You can't take the exam, you can't give the speech or say goodbye to friends. However, as a parent, there are ways you can help coach them from the sidelines during these difficult times.

First, let's identify potential end-of-semester stress your child could be experiencing:

  • worrying over deadlines, final papers, projects and final exams
  • coming to terms with procrastination on certain projects and finding ways to get them done quickly
  • worrying about an upcoming internship or still trying to finalize plans
  • feeling apprehensive about returning from home after experiencing the freedom of life away at college (particularly freshmen)
  • feeling sad about leaving college friends and/or a new boyfriend or girlfriend
  • forward-thinking about the next semester (class schedule, housing, campus job, etc.)

Common signs of stress could include:

  • mood swings and emotional outbursts
  • headaches and stomach aches
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty focusing

How can parents help relieve end-of-semester stress?

  • Let them vent
    Let them unload their feelings via phone, text, email or in-person and just listen. Your child may not need you to actually do anything, but he or she may need you to listen while they vent about all the things they have to do and how they feel like it will all never get done. Once they've had this opportunity to unload their feelings, they may be ready tackle the task at hand. Remember listening is important. You're helping your child by just lending an ear.

  • Help them realize that stress is not all bad
    A certain amount of challenge helps keep us all sharp and focused. It will help them manage and deal with the demands placed on them in their career upon graduation. the problem arises when we begin to feel out of control. Help your child try to control their stress rather than seeing stress as an enemy.

  • Remind your child not to ignore their health
    They likely aren't getting their full eight hours of sleep right now or eating three square meals per day, but remind them that they will be more productive by paying attention to their body as well as their mind. Suggest that they visit the student recreation center to relieve some stress. This would also be a great time to send them a care package full of healthy snacks! We can help!

  • Give your child a little space
    This might be the hardest thing to do, but your child may just need some time and/or space to feel independent. Try to listen carefully to the messages that you are getting and decide when it's best to weigh in and when it's best to step back.

  • Recommend a priority list
    Your child might be in denial about the amount of work they still need to complete and listing it out might actually make it worse. Recommend that knowing what you have to face is usually helpful. Prioritizing the list will help your child create an action plan and help them feel more in control.

  • Suggest on-campus support services
    UF offers a wide support system for students right here on campus.
    • Oiler Success Center
      A centralized resource for all students, especially freshmen, to provide them with the extra guidance and support they need to excel at UF.

    • Academic Support Services
      The Academic Support Services Center provides opportunities for classes, tutoring, advising, mentoring and specialized programs for all students to be academically successful at UF and to collaborate with faculty, staff and administration to address the learning needs and academic performance of students for the purpose of student retention.

    • Accommodation and Inclusion Services
      The Office of Accommodation and Inclusion provides support services and accommodations to students with learning and physical disabilities as they pursue their educational goals.

    • Counseling Services
      The Office of Counseling Services is comprised of an on-campus staff committed to helping students cope with personal problems that could impede successful academic performance.

    • Student Affairs
      The Division of Student Affairs is committed to creating a positive student experience at UF.

    • Cosiano Health Center
      The Cosiano Health Center is a free walk-in health clinic on campus for students, regardless of insurance status.

  • Lastly, be patient - and encourage your student to do the same
    This is just a short-lived phase in life. Tensions are likely high and a little extra patience can help everyone. Whatever happens, the semester will soon be over. Be patient with your child and with yourself, and give them a big hug next time you see them.