If there’s one thing that post-secondary students have in common, it’s feeling stressed out. Most of the time, however, our stress can be controlled and managed, and we’re often strung out when we don’t even need to be. Ripe and ready for the back-to-school season, here are some coping mechanisms that are sure to help you out in times of dire worry.
1. “This Paper Sucks.”
It’s been eight hours. You’re still looking over a paper you’ve written and edited and scrapped (and re-written). You read it over fifteen times. And it’s due tomorrow. Best advice? Stop. If you’ve put lots of good work into it, there’s no use in reading it over and over again. Just print the paper off, close the laptop, and go to sleep knowing you’ve done your best.
2. “A Class Presentation? Time to Leave the Country.”
Talking in front of large groups of people might not be your thing, and that’s okay. Just don’t work yourself up over it; everyone has to get up there at some point and do the exact same thing. Knowing your stuff is the best thing you can do in this situation. Once you’re in front of the class and the information starts flowing, you’ll kill it and forget all about your nerves.
3. “Will I Even Make Friends?”
The answer to this question is yes. Yes, you will! Your peers don’t bite. It’s actually easier to make friends in university than in high school. Why? You’ll be surrounded by people who share a lot of the same interests and goals as you. As scary as it may be to say hello for the first time, articles like 10 Ways To Make Friends In College can really help you out.
“Manage your time so that you can be as efficient as possible and soon you’ll feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.”
4. “Please Give Me My Electives.”
It’s true—not getting into a certain class can put a huge dent in your semester or even set back your graduation date. It’s disappointing when you have to substitute a great elective for something less desirable. Instead of worrying, register for your classes as early as possible. You can’t lose that way because you’ll be ahead of the game. Don’t feel shy about asking a program advisor for some help, either. See? Not so bad!
5. “What If My Professor Sucks?”
The truth is, you’re not going to love the way every single professor teaches a class. Gain some peace in knowing that it’s something everyone deals with. Whether you like the teaching style or not, you’ll be fine if you work hard and take matters into your own hands.
6. “My Workload is Larger Than the Americas.”
University is fast-paced and the work piles up quickly, and some students fall behind when they have a lot of work. How can this be fixed, you ask? Get ahead and stay organized. Read an extra textbook chapter in your spare time. Make notes as the semester progresses rather than right at the very end. Manage your time so that you can be as efficient as possible and soon you’ll feel a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.
7. “What Am I Even Doing With My Life?”
We’ve all asked ourselves that one. You might even begin to question what the heck you’re doing in school (been there, done that), but you’re probably in your program because you’re passionate about it. Maybe you’re taking some classes to find out what truly interests you. And that is totally okay. You don’t need a perfect life plan, so just enjoy the journey of being a student. Chances are, you’ll find yourself along the way. Who knows? Maybe you already have.
“You don’t need a perfect life plan, so just enjoy the journey of being a student.”
8. “What If I Miss My Final Exam?!”
“My exam wasn’t at 1 p.m., it was actually at 9 a.m.!” Well, yikes. Luckily, there’s an easy solution to this one: figure out when your exam schedule will be posted and check it out as soon as possible. Then write the info down somewhere you’ll remember (like on your whiteboard or in your phone’s calendar). Exam times are subject to change, so check back every once and a while to make sure you’re still on track.
9. “I Have Zero Money.”
It’s not a secret that school is expensive. Classes and textbooks cost hundreds of dollars, but you have a lot of different options to ease the stress of high post-secondary fees. Student loans are there to help out, as well as scholarships and grants. While scholarships are awarded based on a certain GPA requirement or essay submission, grants are often awarded to students who really need the money.
10. “I Got a Bad Grade!”
If you’ve been working hard on a project all semester, chances are you’re terrified of failing. I’ve fallen victim to this feeling more than once. A lot of the time, I subjected myself to unrealistic standards and felt disappointed when I got anything less than an A. While it might be easier said than done, you can’t sit around fearing a bad grade. Everyone fails in life. You can’t be perfect at everything, and you’re not expected to be. Failure is necessary in order to learn; brush it off and grow from it.
“Everyone fails in life. You can’t be perfect at everything, and you’re not expected to be.”
11. “I’m 99.2% Sure I Botched That Assignment.”
“What’s a communication audit?” “How do I write in this format?” “I’ve never done a research paper before!” Okay, take a deep breath before you spiral into a meltdown. If you don’t know how to do an assignment, just try doing it on your own at first. If you’re still stuck, you can go to your professor for help. Send them a quick email or schedule an appointment with them to talk—profs love students who are willing to put in effort to accomplish their tasks, and they’ll be more than willing to guide you. Libraries and other resources are also helpful, so take advantage of them to master those confusing assignments.
I know that overcoming school stress is a bit easier said than done, but trust me on this one. If you can pinpoint what’s causing you stress, there’s no reason you can’t be rid of it! With some perseverance and a few minor lifestyle changes, you’ll feel the zen flowing through you in no time.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.