Journey – Transforming the UT Student Experience

April Message from Dr. Kaye Patten Wallace, Senior Vice President for the Student Experience

wallace_lgFinally: finals! We can help students tackle them successfully

We’ve finally put winter away — definitely a reason to celebrate. Plus, the end of the semester offers us all some great opportunities to support our UT students as they launch themselves into final exams.

Finals are an important and necessary part of the overall student experience, even though they often create anxiety. Whether we’re parents of UT students or whether we encounter students who would benefit from additional direction, we may be able to offer useful advice.

As Dr. Stan Edwards at the UT Student Counseling Center noted: “The preparation for and taking of final exams can require increased physical and emotional energy. Thus it is important that students and their support team attend to their physical and emotional well-being.”

I’ll second Dr. Edwards on that, and remind you that the Counseling Center is a place where students can find information, services and support from trained and dedicated professionals — before stress becomes a serious hindrance to their positive UT experience.

Likewise, students need to keep as physically healthy as possible. I asked Dr. Sanford Kimmel, the medical director of student health and vice chair of the Department of Family Medicine at UTMC, to share what he tells students this time of year.

He said, “First, it’s important to get enough rest, at least seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Although some students like to pull ‘all nighters,’ the brain doesn’t function well when it’s sleep deprived. Also, avoid excessive amounts of caffeine, which can make you jittery and irritable. Be sure to eat regular meals, even though you may be tempted to skip them in the middle of an intense study session. If you can’t take time to get a meal, at least eat a nutritious snack like fruit and peanut butter or cheese-crackers. Finally, take time out to exercise during a study break — go for a walk, swim at the Rec Center or do some other relaxing activity. Your body and your mind will thank you for it!”

Remember also that students have excellent resources in the UT Writing Center, and in the UT Learning Enhancement Center that offers free tutoring across the various academic disciplines. Encourage students to tap into this academic support system.

So keep up your efforts to make each student’s experience at our University a stellar one. I’m constantly made proud by all that we do in that arena every day!


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