Ask Emma: I’m stressed about finals

Make a spreadsheet; consider ‘No Record, COVID’ if necessary



If finals has you stressed, this week’s Ask Emma is made just for you.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen news editor

Dear Emma,

I am super stressed for finals weeks — way more stressed than I normally am for finals. I think it’s a combination of online learning and just existing during a global pandemic. My classes don’t seem that much harder than what I’ve taken in the past, but I’m afraid these finals are going to wreck me and I’m going to fail.

What do I do?

Test Stress

Dear Test Stress,

If it makes you feel any better, there’s plenty of people who are in the same boat as you right now. No one really expected to be taking online finals at this point, but here we are. 

First of all, you still have a whole week until finals start. That is plenty of time to study and prepare for your tests, essays, projects or what-have-you. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that time is not an issue — yet.

With that, you should not procrastinate. Unfortunately, I have a habit of putting my work off until the absolute last possible minute, which is really not a good idea when it comes to finals. Instead of relaxing or goofing off now, tell yourself that you’ll have plenty of time to do that once you finish out the week. That may require some mental fortitude (or a roommate who takes your phone away when you get distracted). 

If you think your anxiety this finals season is more than it should be, consider talking to a trusted friend, mentor or therapist. They can help you work through what you’re feeling and put everything into perspective. However, I would not recommend using that as an opportunity to procrastinate. 

Now, if you are anything like me, you’ll feel less stressed when you know exactly what grade you need on a final to squeak out a passing grade in the class. If this doesn’t stress you out more, I recommend making a spreadsheet with all the components of your grade and how much they are weighted. Then you can mess with your exam score until you see an overall grade you like. Chances are you’re doing better than you realize.

Finally, have grace with yourself. As you mentioned in your letter, we are living through a global pandemic. Not that you should try to fail your classes, but if you were ever going to, now would be the time. 

If all else fails (no pun intended), and you get a grade that is lower than what you want, you can look into WSU’s new “No Record, COVID” option. You’ll still have to retake the class, but you won’t have a bad grade messing up your GPA. 

Best of luck! I’m sure you will do great.


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