There’s a lot to balance in university life, between assignment deadlines, exams, co-op interviews, not mention jobs, friends, and whatever else you’ve got on the go, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Feeling stress during your time at university is a common experience that lots of people go through. So how can you manage these feelings and stay productive? Read our tips to find some strategies:
- Practice time management strategies. Stay organized right from the start of term by creating a termly calendar that includes all your class assignment due dates, exams, and how much they are worth to the overall course. Then create a weekly calendar each week that includes your classes, time allotted to studying, but also time for the things that refresh you like sleep, exercising, and spending time with friends.
- Find a calm, distraction-free study environment. Create a pleasant, calm, well-lit, comfortable study zone that is free from distractions. You can do this by reducing clutter around you, finding a comfortable place to sit, or by putting a picture of your family or friends or even a beloved pet in a central location. If you are tempted to check your phone often and you find yourself losing time to social media, power off your phone and stick it in a drawer or closet out of reach.
- Practice adequate self-care. Just like you can’t run a car on an empty tank, your mind won’t focus properly if you are neglecting your body. Adequate self-care includes getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, eating healthy by eating balanced meals and snacks consistently throughout the day, getting some exercise (even a half hour a day can help), and practicing some form of meditation or reflection.
- Connect with others. Chatting with family and friends can help you gain perspective if you are feeling overwhelmed. Peer mentoring opportunities, like the MATES program, are also a great avenue to connect with someone who has had similar experiences. If you are struggling with a particular course it can be very beneficial to connect with your professor or TA during their office hours. They can often give you tips or point you in the right direction.
In university, as with the rest of life, balance is the key. Keeping yourself healthy, organized, and connected to a support network are skills you’ll need even after your graduate. Everyone’s self-care looks different depending on their preferences and situation, so make sure you find what works for you.
For more academic stress tips see these resources: