CAPS helps students cope with stress as semester ends

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Alberto Silva Fernandez

UTEP students struggle during finals week of their first semester back on campus.

Beatriz Velazquez, Contributor

Graduation and finals are around the corner and students are once again dealing with stress as the semester comes to an end. 

Graduation can be very stressful — preparations for the graduation party, inviting family and friends and especially the questions that many future graduates as themselves. What will I do after graduating? Should I continue with my master’s or doctorate? What would happen if I cannot find a job? All of these are worrying stress factors for students, but keep in mind that you are not alone.  

UTEP’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) have counselors who can help students manage stress and other personal issues affecting their lives.  

“CAPS offers group counseling, individual counseling, general career counseling, campus presentations, and workshops,” said Elisa Dobler, a clinical counselor at CAPS. “I recommend people to find coping skills that work for them. It might be exercise; it may be connecting with family and friends or getting outside and being mindful of your surroundings… Remember to switch up your tasks because our brains get tired of doing the same thing for too long.” 

Dobler said it is essential to get advice and discover what activities help students learn how to relax and handle stress appropriately. 

“Different coping skills work for different people; I encourage you to find what works for you,” Dobler said. “CAPS also offers mindfulness workshops periodically that students can sign up for on Campus Edge or follow UTEP CAPS on Instagram/Facebook. We post upcoming events there as well as give weekly tips that can help with stress or anxiety.” 

Some students weighed in on how they tend to cope the stress of final exams as the semester comes to an end.  

“Now that the semester is over, I feel very stressed with all the projects that I have to do,” said Mariana Mendoza, a senior majoring in digital media production at UTEP. “When I have time to rest, I don’t do anything productive. People think that you have to do something useful in your free time… like learn to paint, learn another language, or learn a new sport. … But there is nothing wrong with doing nothing other than watching Netflix. It is your resting space; take it as such. You don’t need to do something productive.” 

“I feel a bit pressured by the fact that there are final exams and at the same time there are projects,” said Diego Rivas Delgado, a senior majoring in digital media production at UTEP. “To deal with stress, what I do is manage time, study for an exam for two hours and then take a break to clear my mind of so much information.” 

Some students said they use music and outside activities as a main source of relaxation during stressful situations.  

“I feel calm even though there are many things to do, and at the same time, I feel out of place,” said Alexis Santos, a junior digital media production major at UTEP. “The semester went fast, but it has left me good experiences. I usually listen to music and go for a walk in the park every night. I also play the piano to relax. I am a person who does not stress too much, and I always try to be as calm as possible.”  

The sessions that CAPS offers in group therapy are for five to eight students and individuals and are free and confidential. CAPS also has groups in Spanish and LGBTQIA+.  

“We do have regular groups all semester long,” said Dobler. “The best thing to do is to join a group at the beginning of the semester to have that weekly outlet as far as stress and other concerns go. The groups create a lot of peer support and connection for students who realize that other people feel the same way they do, or they have a counselor in every group, but they also have access to feedback from their peers.” 

For more information, CAPS is located at 202 Union West, 500 W University and you can contact them at [email protected] or 915-747-5302. 

Beatriz Velazquez is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected]