Tension breakers

It’s crunch time, and all over campus, students are feeling the pressure of final exams. Well, not all of them — a few of the people we asked during finals week last fall seemed unusually stress-free. As for everyone else, the coping strategies run the gamut from healthy (working out) to heavy (eating lots of cookie dough). But as another of our students noted, who said you have to stay sane during finals?

Melanie Signorile, College ’02
“I eat a lot of cookie dough. I haven’t been doing a very good job at staying sane.”

Matt Robusto, Engineering ’00
“Coloring my shoes with colored pencils.”

Lawrence Samuels, Engineering and Applied Science ’03
“Working out relieves the stress. Other than that, I’ve been going insane.”

Jennifer Lesko, College ’01
“Studying downtown gets me off campus. Drinking lots of coffee.”

Pierre Revol, College ’03
“Watching TV, talking to my girlfriend. I’m not really worrying.”

Monica Shah, College ’00
“I haven’t really quite stayed sane. Eating a lot of chocolate, I guess. I know that’s not good, but it’s temporary, so it doesn’t matter.”

Ethan Kay, Wharton ’03
“I don’t think I can answer that because I’m already going insane.”

Anna Martin, Social Work Master’s
“I put on my music and dance and sing.”

Julia Rodriguez, College ’00
“I call my friends at Penn and at other schools and make sure I’m not the only one who feels stressed out.”

Janine Powers, College ’00
“I think a little insanity’s a good thing. There’s more to life than acing an exam.”

Michelle Alig, College ’01
“I will make myself study hardcore for an hour, then give myself a small break, like dinner or checking my e-mail. This is part of my reward system. After finishing my reading I get to watch a movie or play some games on the computer. I also let my tensions go and act a little strange and hyperactive for a while.”

Linda Oh, College ’02
“There’s nothing like some shopping to ease the pain of finals!”

Jessica Almor, College ’01
“I guess I try my hardest to keep up with my work during the semester so when it comes time for finals, I’m calm.”

Arthur daSilva, Wharton ’01
“Taking a few TV study breaks, treating myself to restaurant food, spending quality time with my girlfriend, pizza study breaks, small naps, McDonald’s breaks...”

Michelle Lee, College ’02
“Hanging out with friends to give me support and encouragement.”

— Katie Alex, Laura Spadanuta and Grace Enriquez



Originally published on May 4, 2000