OU students’ guide to dealing with the end of the semester

Imani Smith

Things are getting intense. You left your brain at home in bed, where you wish you still were. You’re in class looking right at your professor, but you don’t hear any sound coming from her mouth due to your lack of sleep the night before.

It’s that time again, the end of the semester and you can feel it all over campus. People are walking around, highly caffeinated, looking like zombies. You’re wondering to yourself, “How the heck am I going to make it through the next two weeks of school?” Then, you come across this article. A article of hope and tools presented to you by a student in the same position as you: tired, overwhelmed and just simply ready for the summer. 

“At this point in the semester, I am completely overwhelmed by all that needs to be done. I can’t wait to hand in the last of my projects and papers so I can just relax,” Elizabeth Suchocki said. Suchocki is a double major at Oakland University and she, like a lot of other students, is over the winter semester. 

Many college students have to deal with the stress of school plus the stress of everyday reality. Even if a student feels like they have it all under wraps there will be a point in the semester where they feel like every homework assignment is out to get them. 

Today’s college students seem to experience a lot more stress than other generations, according to BestColleges.com. Stress is natural, especially for students who feel pressure to succeed in an academic setting, but obsessive stress isn’t healthy. When we feel like our bodies are on overdrive, we tense up, shutdown and it’s hard for us to work. So that’s why practicing stress reduction techniques is tremendously helpful for times like this.

Meditation, yoga, sleep and breathing exercises can help make the next few weeks go by like a Sunday morning breeze instead of a cold, bitter Monday morning. 


Yoga is a practice of breathing, simple meditation and physical movement. Yoga is known to help relieve stress within the first thirty minutes of practice. There are many forms of yoga, according to Yoga Journal. The most practiced form is called Hatha Yoga, referring to the physical yoga postures (asanas). “Hatha” is translated to mean “willful” or “forceful,” and breaks down to “ha” (sun) and “tha” (moon), which creates a beautiful yoga balance.

OU offers five different yoga classes that help you wind down after a long day of studying or just to simply get your mind off school for an hour and refocus. Group X brings these classes to you daily and offer different levels, so students can be sure to pick what’s best for them. 

One of the classes offered is Power Yoga, taught by Kaleigh Jerzykowski on Monday nights from 7-8 p.m. at the Rec Center. Jerzykowski teachers power yoga, which is geared toward a more experienced crowd, but welcomes all levels if you’re up for the challenge. Jerzykowski said power yoga is “a dynamic and physically demanding practice,” which allows students to focus more on their movements and breath. 

Jerzykowski also highlighted that “yoga and, more importantly, deep breathing techniques can be extremely useful for students during finals.” She suggests taking a few moments before, during and after long study sessions to relax the mind and body.

A student should stand up, engage in a few backbends, forward folds and deep breathing techniques to become balanced.

“All of these tools can greatly improve focus and help to avoid fatigue,” Jerzykowski said.

Check out OU’s mind/body classes that are sure to help you during the next two weeks. 


When it comes to meditation, it’s a different level than yoga. Yoga is a physical practice and meditation is more of a mental practice (but they go hand-in-hand overall). According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), meditation increases calmness and physical relaxation, which helps bring your nervous system to peace. Meditation is beneficial for your overall well-being, especially your physiological balance, which most college students struggle with. 

There are a ton of websites, YouTube videos and meditation centers around Michigan that can help you find the balance you need for the end of the semester and throughout the rest of your life. You can also create your own meditation while in your dorm room, the main elements include:

  1. A quiet space with little to no distractions. 
  2. A comfortable position that your body is able to handle for a long period of time (sitting cross-legged or lying down on your back).
  3. A focus point. Whether it is a color, a statue or closed eyes, you want to be able to direct your gaze toward something that won’t distract you.
  4. An intention. You want to set your attention on something that your mind can focus on during a meditative state. You can choose a mantra, a single world or your breath to help you stay in tune. 

These are some of the ways you can take advantage of your down time before and after classes.

“You don’t have to meditate for a long period of time to see results,” said Linda Brown, a regular practitioner of meditation. Brown has been practicing meditation for five years now and feels it has changed her life tremendously, she doesn’t know where her sanity would be without it. 


“Many yogic breathing techniques raise vital energy, decreases anxiety, and increase alertness, each of these effects can help students maintain the energy, balance and focus necessary for preparing for big exams,” said Kerrie Trahan, founder of YoganicFlow, a community-minded company whose mission is to “address the mental and physical needs of the urban community through yoga and meditation.” 

Trahan also highlights that alternate nostril breathing is a exercise students can do to relax and refocus when test stress begins to surface. This breathing technique is said to bring calm and balance, and unite the right and left sides of the brain

For the alternate nostril breathing exercise, take these three simple steps provided to you by Holistic Online:

  1. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and inhale through the left nostril. Do this for four seconds.
  2. Immediately close the left nostril with your right ring finger and little finger, and at the same time remove your thumb from the right nostril, and exhale through this nostril. Do this for eight seconds. This completes a half round.
  3. Inhale through the right nostril for four seconds. Close the right nostril with your right thumb and exhale through the left nostril for eight seconds. This completes one full round.

With these three techniques – yoga, meditation and breathing – nothing can hold us back. If you feel overwhelmed, try to come back to this article, then step away from the computer and that never-ending paper and recenter yourself with reassurance and dynamic breath. 

Good luck and kick this semester’s butt!!!