Breathing deep and keeping calm: students de-stress for finals


It’s coming. Finals week.

Although some classes have gotten the heavy workloads out of the way, the bulk of testing will take place over next week. After that Oakland students are free for summer, fail or pass.

Before then, however, it’s a minefield of students ready to explode with the pressure.

In lieu of that, here are some of the ways students are trying to help students de-stress.

Teaching techniques

iPause was introduced this year by the Graham Health Center and OU Counseling Center. An hour-long workshop packed with information, it can be requested by any group on campus that is interested in learning about stress and how to control it.

The last session of this academic year was held in 5 East Vandenberg Hall on Tuesday at 6 p.m. There, iPause volunteers helped prepare residents for finals with some discussion, tips and breathing techniques.

One thing to do, volunteer Kathleen Zintsmaster said, is to remember that school is an opportunity many people don’t have.

“Although it’s stressful, this is a good stressor,” Zintsmaster said. “If you’re not stressed out ever, you won’t be motivated to do anything.”

The volunteers said the goal is to aim for an optimum stress zone – not too much and not too little. A good way to do this is to keep a journal.

Other things to try are time management techniques, finding a fun way to get exercise, and laughing.

“They say if you get at least 30 minutes a day it reduces risk for cardiovascular disease,” one volunteer said. “Don’t take yourself so seriously. Do something fun.”

Other tools and information about stress can be found at

Helping others to help yourself

HappyOU Happyme is a club brought to Oakland this year. An easygoing group, it focuses on achieving happiness through meditation and mindfulness.

“The premise of the whole group is making other people happy to make yourself happy,” said President Emma Spak.

Since January Spak and other members have been meeting every Tuesday. At each meeting a yoga teacher comes in, there is some group discussion, and there are five to ten minutes of meditation at the end. Other things the group has done include yoga, positive cards and candy.

“The meditation has helped me kind of focus and let the little things go,” Secretary Taylor James said.

HappyOU Happyme will continue to meet next year. For more information contact Spak at [email protected].