Coping with Stress
Whether it is the first week of the semester or finals week, college can be a stressful time. Below are some strategies to help everyone take care of themselves while completing assignments to the best of their ability.
- Create a study schedule. The key to productivity is often basic preparation. A helpful strategy with reading for example, is to time yourself reading a page of the assigned text, then multiply that time by the number of pages to know how long you need to complete the reading. Knowing how much time you need for something can alleviate considerable stress related to the task, and mark open windows for free time, which is equally important. Another piece of advice: consider a note/reminder app on your phone. Taking notes helps you actively understand what you’re studying. When it comes to scheduling, consider setting up study times when you are most rested. Concentration is hard to fake, and a study session that is comfortable yields more and hurts less.
- Develop a plan of attack. In addition, creating outlines or summarizing as you read as a study aid not only helps you remember information better without referencing, but also can be used to promote group discussion later on. (More on that to come.)
- Take breaks. While studying or writing papers it is important to take breaks to incorporate self-care activities for 15-30 minutes (maybe get lunch with a friend, watch a show on Netflix, or do some of that long overdue laundry). Taking breaks allows you to resume an assignment with a new perspective. Try the 45/15 rule during your next study session (study for 45 minutes, take a break for 15 minutes, and repeat).
- Another note on self-care. At college, and especially during finals week, it can be easy to ignore healthy sleep, exercise, and eating habits. This is particularly counterproductive because the brain needs sleep and balanced nutrition to function at its best. Periodic exercise breaks encourage reflection on previously learned material and stimulate generative thought.
- Team up. Reach out to classmates. They’re a great resource and working together to undertake difficult exams or projects is helpful for everyone involved. Sharing your thoughts about course material with peers means more ways to attempt problem solving and more even distribution of workload. Read written work aloud. This will expose mechanical errors that are easily overlooked when skimming. Knowing exactly what your reader is receiving before you submit is a great way to reduce stress about the paper.
**Bonus tip!!** Talk to a counselor. If you feel as though your stress and/or anxiety is overwhelming, contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors.