OPINION: Students deal differently with virtual finals stress

The spring semester is finally wrapping up, students are busy stressing about performing well during finals week



It is very difficult for many students to find the motivation to finish the semester out strong.


As finals week approaches, WSU students are starting to feel the stress of preparing for exams, as well as burnout from all the studying.

Max Litvak, junior marketing and hospitality and business management double major, said he is feeling the most stressed out because of his asynchronous classes.

“[It feels like] I’m paying money to watch YouTube,” he said. 

I completely understand that because my biology class is asynchronous, except for labs, and watching the lectures on my own time is more stressful than just having a set class, especially since I am not interacting with my professor.

Litvak also said it is harder to learn online, which makes preparing for finals much more stressful.

“I’m not learning that much because I have less motivation to go to class and it’s harder to meet up with teachers and ask questions,” he said. 

I can attest to that. Some days I will wake up, turn my alarm off and go straight back to sleep. Not having the in-person interaction with my professors is also difficult and can make asking questions much harder.

Skylar Davidson, sophomore genetics and cell biology major, said she is stressed out about finals because she has done everything she can for her classes, and is getting the second dose of her vaccine the night before one of her finals.

“There’s no way I can change either of those,” she said. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail one of my finals because I’m getting vaccinated.”

I am getting my second dose a couple of days before one of my finals as well, so I completely understand the utter fear Davidson is going through.

Neither of us knows how the vaccine will affect our mental and physical state in the days following, so we are both hoping for the best.

Along with the stress of upcoming finals, we are at the point of the semester where burnout is hitting everyone hard. 

Litvak said he has little motivation because it is so difficult to learn in his classes.

“I’m the kind of person who likes to listen to a lecture and take handwritten notes … but teachers are just using technology to go super fast. They can’t see that I’m still writing,” he said. “I don’t want to feel like a burden for the rest of the class [by] asking the teacher to go back.”

Along with the stress and burnout he is dealing with, Litvak said his social interactions are much less frequent because his fraternity is taking COVID-19 seriously and is avoiding the party scene.

“Less social interaction is definitely making [things] harder. Not being able to meet up with my group mates for group projects, stuff like that makes it harder,” he said.

To get away from the stress of finals, Litvak said he likes to go on drives. 

“I usually go drive around if I’m feeling stressed. I’ll drive to Spokane or something,” he said. “I tried to get into fishing again, just going shooting down at a range, stuff like that.”

Davidson said she is feeling burnout because she is staring at a screen throughout the whole day.

“It’s not very motivating to sit in one place for eight hours a day … and trying to motivate yourself alone,” she said. “The group chats are great, I love that we now have group chats.” 

I am feeling burnout because of all my screen time too, but I do think all the group chats I am in are great. I even met my future roommate because of a group chat from last semester. 

Davidson said she tries to get away from her laptop as much as possible, but she does not have a lot of time to do so.

“I work out and I hang out with friends,” she said. “But that’s pretty much the only time I get away from a screen, other than work, but that isn’t very stress-relieving.”

Even though students are stressed, I am sure we all think there are things professors can do to help reduce the stress. 

Litvak said professors should make themselves more available to students to provide help outside of class.

“[They should] have synchronous classes — so none of the pre-recorded lectures — more office hours, providing time to ask questions during class definitely helps as well,” he said.

I completely agree with Litvak, especially on the subject of not having asynchronous classes. I feel like I would be doing better in my biology class if I had the chance to ask questions while watching the lectures, instead of waiting around for my professor’s office hours.

Davidson mentioned professors should be more flexible with finals for students who have health concerns. 

“I’m probably not going to be functional after I get my second dose, and the professor has no way to allow me to take the final at any other time,” she said.

I do agree with Davidson on this. I think with a reasonable excuse, finals should not have to have a set time to be taken, especially with Davidson, and other students getting the second dose of the vaccine right around finals week.