Recently, a shocking research was published and shook up all of the Netherlands: 75% of all students were supposedly suffering from emotional exhaustion due to juggling education, work and a social life. To me it hardly came as a shock, having experienced some proper emotional exhaustion due to university life as well. So what are my strategies to keep hold of my sanity?
1. Plan, plan, plan!
Find yourself a good diary, a desk planner, or anything that you think works to keep up with all of your coursework. I highly recommend sitting down one afternoon before your semester starts, printing out all of your schedules and organizing all of your required reading. Put all of your deadlines down in your planner and just take some time to flip through your coursework. It allows you to keep an overview and makes things relative, which is important so that you won't lose yourself in the heat of the studying-moment, and can always keep a clear head.
I usually sit down once a week and look at all the things I have coming up in the next week. This way I can schedule it in next to my work schedule, my driving lessons, and my other social engagements.
2. Prepare for your classes!
Seriously though, it may seem obvious, but I can't stress enough how important it is to prepare for all your classes. It makes you understand lectures better, you can ask questions, you won't have to catch up on readings just before your exams, and also because your lecturer will like you! Seriously, this is pretty important! What if you fell ill right before the exams? What if you don't understand something completely and want to ask at the last moment? A lecturer will go much further for a student that works hard and is well prepared, than someone who doesn't.
3. Reward yourself!
So you've made your weekly planning, you've worked hard, you're well prepared and on track. You've been working long shifts. You've been up late, or you've woken up very early. It's important that you don't pass yourself by. I am firmly against that babyboomer-outlook on life that it's somehow insensible to spend money on yourself in the moment. Buy that Starbucks coffee you like so much, get yourself a new red lipstick. Take a night off and binge that new show (Alias Grace! Watch it!) Treat yourself, or it will become too much.
4. It's all relative!
University is really all relative. This is what you should understand. It's good to want to do well, and it's good if you do do well. But once you get into the obsessive about wanting to achieve the highest, the best, etc., then you should REALLY take a step back and look at what you're doing - it's important to recognize that there are invisible mental boundaries and that you shouldn't cross them for your own sanity. Learn to accept that sometimes you can only do your best, and that's all. A grade is not worth sacrificing your health, your sleep, your eating for. You are more important than grades. Take a step back if you're feeling it's getting too much for you.
That being said, I won't claim that I am the perfect anxiety-free student that this may make me seem. Neither am I an expert on this subject. I myself feel overwhelmed and anxious sometimes, but reminding myself that it pays to work with a good schedule and keep in mind that it's relative, really helps me to stay on track and put any stressful feelings I have behind my.
So I hope that these tips will provide some help for those struggling with Academics related stress.
Lots of love,
My name is Vera. I am a twenty-one year old student and catlady.