University is stressful, theres no doubt about that! Some people enjoy the stress of it though, I found out once whilst I was doing research for my dissertation. It’s called ‘eustress’ which basically means useful stress. Now, I didn’t find the stress that came with being at university beneficial at the time, the stress was definitely becoming distressing. I only left 5 months ago and I am already starting to reflect on my experience and recognise that the stress I felt may have actually been a brilliant life lesson for me. If you’re studying at the moment, you’re probably thinking what is she on about?! But trust me, you’ll come to this stage at some point. Meanwhile, I thought I’d give you 5 tips that you can take on regarding how to cope with the stress that university brings. So what are they?
Talk to Somebody
This can be student support services, friends, lecturers or family! Whoever you feel comfortable talking to. Most universities have a student support area, they usually vary in support such as financial, academic and disability support. Mine had a very lovely mental health advisor, I was very honest with her about how I was finding university. She pointed me to academic support tutors and gave me tips on mindfulness, but she also supported me in talking to my GP if things got worse. They even offered to let my lecturers know how I was feeling. If you find you really get on with a lecturer, talk to them too. It’s definitely worth having a look into what support your university offers. You have paid £9000 so make the most of the staff and the support.
Keep your Friends Close
By this I mean friends that are good for you. When I look back on how I coped with the stress, I probably wouldnt of been able to cope like I did without a few good friends behind me. If I didn’t have those friends, especially two of them, I think I’d have really struggled. Having close like-minded friends at university helps because you can provide each other with laughs, comfort and encouragement. Don’t forget you can all probably relate to the stress and you can help each other with the work! Good friends provide some relief to the pressure of university. I didn’t dread going in to uni as much as I might of done if I didn’t have these friends to hang out with. When graduation day comes and you all throw your caps in the air for a Boomerang, you’ll be proud of each other because the university experience is something you’ll all share.
Being organised from the start of your studies is key. Start reading assignment briefs early, even before you’ve been given the lecture on it. Start to get your head around what your assignments entail, this way if you don’t understand them you’ve given yourself plenty of time to find out what you’re doing. This is better than panicking 3 weeks before the deadline. Treat yourself to nice stationary, I did and I even decorated them a bit myself. I’ve alway loved stationary so this got me a little bit excited and made me look at my studies creatively. Create a timetable! This might sound high school-ish but it really did help me, I was able to allocate specific times just for uni work and in those times I just concentrated on my uni work. Don’t forget to add in other things too, I even timetabled in when I’d have a bath, when I’d catch up on a show or even when I’d eat! This really helps you to balance your time, so it doesn’t end up being all about studying, it’s minimises the chance of you becoming overwhelmed and stressed out.
Take a Step Back
Why did you want to go to university in the first place? Was it to complete your career, to learn new things or maybe you missed out on the opportunity previously. For what ever reason, you wanted to study at some point! Go back to that, remind yourself why this degree is so important. Remind yourself of where you want your degree to take you and keep that image in mind, tell yourself your hard work will pay off because it will!. Friends and family use to always remind me but I didn’t find this useful, it’s no good if you yourself can’t. If you’re struggling to see why what you’re doing will pay off then again, please talk to somebody!
Don’t revolve your life around university
Before you became a student what did you enjoy doing? If you have hobbies or interests, make time for them. If you haven’t gone out with friends for a while, make time to see them. If you haven’t relaxed with a face mask on whilst reading a good book for a while, make time! Make time to do what makes you happy. This comes back to creating a timetable and balancing your time. Your life does not revolve strictly around university, you are a person before you’re a student and if you weren’t studying you’d be doing the things you love. So why stop doing those just because of your studies?
No matter what year of study you’re in or what course you’re studying, I hope my tips will help you. Please remember that coping with stress is different for everybody, some people find it more difficult than others and its okay to admit you’re struggling. Talk to people, take a step back for a minute and find time for you. Please know that you’re doing an amazing thing and it’s an achievement that nobody can ever take away from you!