Study Break: Test Stress Ministry Ideas for Finals Week!

It’s finals season. Aaagh!.

For all the college kids, we’re nearing the end of the pain (this week here in Conway, AR), but the high school students are just gearing up for the torture that is year-end exams.

School projects are always being brought up in our small group at church, and it’s not just some filler prayer request they toss out in order to avoid sharing personal info. We have many students on scholarship in our church, and they want to keep that money (and even pick up a little more) by getting those high marks. We also have the privilege of having some international students who seem to take their studies a bit more seriously than the standard university attendee. For them, good grades mean they might get enough support to continue to grad school before returning home to serve their countries and their families. No matter where our students are from though, they are STRESSED right now. Your high school and college kids are feeling it too.

This is where you come in! For the last 4 years or so, our class at church has tried to do something helpful around semester and final exams. We have baked cookies in the past, and delivered them to the different campuses and homes (for high school students) for a study break. We’ve sent encouraging verses (and maybe even glow tracts one year) in little goody bags and given each student one for themselves, and at least one to share with a roommate or friend.

This year I was feeling ambitious so I made muffins with flax instead of eggs (My nutritionist friends tell me how good those Omega 3s are for the brain). I made lots and delivered them in gift bags to our students. When I got home, I finally tried the muffins and they were not all that grand, but to my surprise, I got several heart-felt thank yous via text.

I realized that the kids 1) aren’t that picky, and 2) just appreciated someone coming by and praying with them. It takes some time, but the effort is minimal. In fact, you could do granola bars, juice boxes or even popsicles if you have an ice chest.

I have lots of ideas that require a bit more effort, but I’d like to try one day—especially if we ever have a location adjacent to one of our campuses. Here they are, in no particular order.

  1. I’d like to host a midnight (or 10pm) fun run when folks are up late studying. We could meet in the parking lot on campus, and have a car playing some tunes drive around for about 5 minutes, with the kids all jogging behind. We could serve some snacks after out of the car.
  2. I’d LOVE to have a blessing breakfast where we served students a healthy, brain enhancing breakfast the morning of the first day of finals (or do it every day) and ask a prayer of blessing over them. It would also be a good opportunity to talk about some sleep, study, and nutrition habits that promote their best thinking. It would also be an incredible service and witnessing opportunity.
  3. I’m not even that all into health, but I’ve always loved juicing and smoothies. It would be fun to host a drink party that focused on the ingredients and nutrients that aid brain function. Maybe a “dead-day drinks that make you thinks” theme. J

Speaking of nutrition, in a video my friends and I made in honor of finals week, I promised to share Juanita’s (a soon to be registered dietician) favorite breakfast recipe idea for quick finals fare. See below for the recipe.

So that’s it for me today! Now I’d like to collect some ideas from you. What have you, or your church members done to support students during exam time? Let me know in the comments below!

BONUS: Here are Juanita’s Best Breakfasts (Quick Prep for Finals)

1. Smart Yogurt Cup

Take 3/4 cup of your choice of plain yogurt (dairy/soy/coconut), mix a teaspoon of honey, 1/2 cup of favorite berries, and 1/4 cup of your favorite nuts…(this breakfast contains great sources of protein, antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber and calcium)

2. Breakfast Quesadilla

Heat up a whole wheat flour tortilla (or cold if you prefer), spread 1 tbs of favorite nut butter, add slices of banana and strawberries and sprinkle some cinnamon and chia seeds (both optionals) Fold tortilla in half and enjoy!

3. Chia Pudding: Let me refer you back to the recipe I did on video. (Make ahead and add fruit and sliced almonds.)

4. If all else fails, grab a Kind bar or an apple and peanut butter. It will really give you energy and it contains a good source of protein to keep you from feeling hungry during your test!

Juanita, Nearly a registered dietician

Best wishes and prayers on those finals! Love, Juanita

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