For the majority of students, stress is part of everyday life and a normal reaction to the demands of university life.
Adjusting to university can be difficult and if you’re struggling to keep up with your study load, stay on top of things financially or balance your commitments, the stress can get overwhelming.
A small amount of stress can help motivate or equip you to deal with challenges, but there are ways you can learn to manage your studies so that the stress doesn’t get too much.
Staying on top of your study load, managing your time well and keeping organised are all important factors when trying to keep your stress levels down. Try the following.
Procrastination is the negative cycle of delaying tasks that need doing. All of us procrastinate from time to time, but for some students the problem is more serious: stopping them from submitting assignments on time or studying for exams. This can lead to feelings of guilt or anxiety, which then feed the habit of procrastination, making it very difficult to break out of.
Find out what causes procrastination (pdf, 86KB) and what strategies you can use to break out of the pattern.
Perfectionism arises from the belief that you need to perform at your absolute best all of the time. It involves setting standards for yourself that are inflexible and unrelenting and often comes with an excessive fear of making mistakes. The demand for perfection often leads to excess stress and anxiety or procrastination and can ultimately hinder performance.
It can also start to impact on your self-esteem as you start to believe that others will value you only if you achieve perfection.
Read about perfectionism (pdf, 107KB), how to step back from it and what strategies you can use to still value excellence in your work.
It’s normal to experience anxiety both in preparation for and during exams; a moderate level of anxiety is actually a prerequisite for optimal performance. The challenge is to recognise when anxiety levels have increased past an optimal level and learn to manage anxiety so that it doesn’t hijack performance.
Learn some useful techniques to prepare for an exam (pdf, 97KB) so you have the best chance at success.
Learning services – there are a range of workshops, tuition and online resources available to help strengthen your study skills and build your confidence in class.