Coping with Stress at University

Before enrolling in a university course you have probably been told that university is the best time of your life and that you will meet loads of new friends and so on, but what you must understand is that university isn’t all fun and games. Getting a degree isn’t meant to be a game and it certainly isn’t meant to be easy, otherwise there would be no real value to your degree if you didn’t have to work for it. So you built your expectations up for university and now you are attending classes and lectures it isn’t what you expected, what can you do?

* Take up a hobby – Of course there is a lot of studying which needs to be done at university to prepare you for exams and research papers, however this doesn’t mean that every minute of your free time has to be spent working. Put aside some free time for a hobby or to socialise with friends. Having time to yourself will help you clear your mind and feel much better about studying. Hobbies are a great way to spend time alone, whilst still doing something productive and fun. Find a hobby which you enjoy and fits into your budget.

* Take a break whilst studying – Sometimes you may feel like spending one whole night of studying, so that you don’t have to study during the other week nights; this isn’t the greatest idea as your brain won’t absorb all of the information that you expect it to retain. It is much more effective to study for thirty minutes and take a five or ten minute break in between. You may also find it more productive to study with a group of friends to prevent studying from feeling like a hassle and to make it a little more fun.

* Get enough sleep – Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night so that your brain can take a well needed rest. Whilst at university your brain is constantly being fed information and needs time to rest in order to function properly. Getting more sleep will help you to feel awake in the morning and ready to start studying.

* Eat breakfast – Don’t skip breakfast because as people say, ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’. This is especially important before exams or on days that you have early lectures as breakfast gives your brain nutrition which it uses to process information throughout the day. You can’t concentrate on studying or taking notes if you are hungry and thinking about food!

* Change course – Think about why you chose the course that you are enrolled on. It is important that you enjoy the course that you are studying otherwise you may not be able to motivate yourself to attend classes or revise for exams. The course may be different from what you expected and there is nothing wrong with changing your course; some people change courses as late as the third year of study. You should be happy with the course that you are studying and be sure that after graduation you will be satisfied with the degree that you have obtained.

* Talk to someone – If you still find that you are struggling to cope with stress or depression whilst at university it may be best to speak to a counsellor or to an academic advisor on the campus. They may be able to offer you an alternative or perhaps put you on a part-time study schedule if you find that you are really struggling to keep up with the workload. Just don’t feel that you have to struggle on your own because university stress is something which every student goes through and there are lots of people who are willing and waiting to help you get through it.

University should provide a challenge but definitely shouldn’t make you depressed or feel down. There will always be times where you struggle with stress and that is the same when you start a new job, it just takes time to settle in and adjust to a new rhythm. Many people hate university when they first enrol because they are not used to the surrounding or rhythm, this makes many want to quit or drop out before the first month has passed, however the ones that stick it out are generally glad that they did and really enjoy the rest of their course. Just give it some time before you decide to drop out!