How to stay stress-free during finals

The end of May brings the excitement of Commencement -- but also the anxiety of final exams and thesis projects. There are a number of resources available to students making that last big push to the end the school year.

A student studying in the library.

The first-floor research commons in the J. Paul Leonard Library and the Cesar Chavez Student Center are open 24 hours a day during finals.

To build confidence and increase concentration, short meditation can be highly effective, according to Laurence Caughlan, who has taught yoga at SF State for more than four decades. "Meditate a few minutes in silence, erasing all thoughts to be at peace with who you are," he said. "Anticipation leads to anxiety, which can cloud peak performance."

In addition to increasing knowledge, he added, focused study can also increase confidence, which in turn can help an individual perform at his or her peak when the time comes. Caughlan also suggested stretching, and then relaxing, to help stimulate the nervous system in preparation for an exam.

Students hoping to squeeze in some last-minute studying also have a few more places to do that. The Cesar Chavez Student Center began staying open 24 hours a day on May 12 and will continue doing so through May 23, with free coffee and giveaways during the day. In addition, parts of the library will keep extended hours, such as the ground floor Study Commons, which will remain open until 2 p.m. on Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17. The first-floor Research Commons, as always, will be open 24 hours. For more information about library times, visit

Beginning Monday, Residential Life will offer a number of events outside the Dining Commons aimed at helping students through finals. On Monday, a study-tips session will be held from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Pointers on how to sleep better -- plus free bagels, coffee and earplugs -- will be available Wednesday from 11 a.m. to noon. On Thursday from 12 to 1 p.m., students can get advice on how to stay calm and stress less.

Finally, students can celebrate reaching the finish line at the Senior Send-Off BBQ sponsored by the Alumni Association. The BBQ will take place on May 22 from 4 to 6 p.m. on the West Campus Green. The association will have a free gift for members of the Class of 2014 to welcome them to the SF State alumni family.

-- Jonathan Morales