Under pressure: how to cope with student stressPosted: May 5, 2011
You don’t need us to tell you that students across the country feel particularly pressured at this time of year. Exams are round the corner, coursework deadlines have all arrived at once, and revision feels like a never-ending task; you may also be juggling your studies with part-time work. There’s barely enough time in the day for lunch, let alone graduate job applications, or any other (more exciting) extra-curricular activities, so you can be forgiven for feeling stressed.
Stress affects everyone from time to time from every walk of life. It might not be pleasant, but in small doses it can be beneficial: stress can turn even the greatest procrastinators into paragons of productivity. The trick is to recognise your own stress levels, and learn how to manage them.
Careful time management and adopting a routine are the best ways of limiting the stresses of university life. It goes without saying that it’s important to structure your time properly and put the work in – coursework, revision, applications all take time, effort and determination – but it’s equally important to give yourself proper breaks. Eat well and make sure you get enough sleep. Make time for exercise.
Don’t try and do too much. If you set yourself impossible goals, you run the risk of becoming so anxious about your perceived lack of achievement that you won’t be able to face any of it. Instead, give yourself smaller, manageable tasks, and reward yourself for every target achieved. If you work best in the mornings don’t push yourself to work late into the night, and vice versa; adopt a routine that works for you.
Another good way to minimise stress is discovering the ability to say ‘no’: if you’re invited for a job interview right before an exam, it’s likely to send your stress levels soaring, so explain the situation to the recruiter. The chances are they’ll be happy to reschedule. Similarly, if you’ve agreed to an interview date but subsequently realise that it clashes with an important deadline, contact the recruiter as soon as you can to explain and ask if you can rearrange.