Help your student power through finals

Help your student power through finals

The weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break are tough on students. No way to sugar coat it. They are buried in work: reading, exam preparation, final projects, more reading, paper writing, etc.

Some first-year students experience another wave of homesickness after the Thanksgiving holiday. Seniors are extra stressed as they work on theses and capstone projects while applying for jobs and graduate school.

You may not hear from your student much, or at all. This is natural and most likely okay. They need space, but they also need encouragement and support.

What are the best ways to help?

When you do talk — or in a quick text or letter — you can reinforce strategies for getting through finals healthy and whole.

Encourage self-care.

This means:

  • Regular sleep
  • Regular study breaks (they can put these in their planner)
  • Exercise, including time spent outdoors in natural light if possible
  • Quality time with friends (again, they can schedule this)
  • Healthy and regular meals, hydration

They should keep their eye out for finals support events on campus at the student union, health center, etc. and reach out for stress relief through the counseling center.


Maximize academic support.

  • Break larger final projects and papers into smaller pieces and start as soon as they are assigned.
  • Attend all available study sessions, faculty office hours, etc.
  • Get individual tutoring in subjects where they are struggling.

What else can parents do?

Understand that they may not have time for the usual phone calls. Send an occasional text/social message that doesn’t require a response. Write a letter!

Check in to confirm their travel plans and offer to help if needed.

And there’s still time to mail a finals care package!
  • Healthy snacks (nuts, dried fruit, protein bars)
  • Fidget or stress relief toy
  • Cozy hat, gloves, scarf or slippers
  • New earbuds
  • Gift card for coffee shop or restaurant they like in town
  • Calming teas
  • Vitamin C drops or Emergen-C
  • Holiday treats

Diane Schwemm

Diane Schwemm is a writer and editor at CollegiateParent. She and her husband have three sons in high school and college. In her off hours, she likes to read, hike and garden and, thanks to the influence of her family, appreciates ballet and basketball equally.

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Recent Comments

  • This is a wonderful article which I have copied and sent to my daughter. she feels calmer if she is prepared ahead of time and knows what to expect. these suggestions are just thing to give her.

  • Thank you for writing this awesome article. I'm a long time reader but I've never been compelled to leave a comment. I subscribed to your blog and shared this on my Facebook. Thanks again for a great article!