By Angela Volcensek
How to Beat Academic Stress
No matter where you find yourself in your academic career— whether that is high school, undergraduate, or graduate school— it’s stressful! There are mountains of homework, more than a little bit of coffee (or energy drinks…), and other responsibilities to top it off. It’s not easy to keep up, mentally and physically. Over the course of my academic career, I have found some simple ways to try and relieve stress during those tough times. I hope these will help one of you in need!
- TAKE BREAKS. I have found over the years that taking a break makes me far more productive in the long run. There were so many times were I would be sitting in front of a pile of homework and wasn’t able to focus on any of it. Instead of doing something else for a while, I would sit there and force myself to do it. The product was horrible and I would just end up redoing it again later for my desired result. Get up! Go for a walk! Dance around in your room! Even fifteen minutes will help and you will feel so much better.
- Be kinder to yourself. Have you ever procrastinated and put something off for too long, only to beat yourself up about it later? Don’t worry, you are not alone! There are about seven billion of us who have done the exact same thing. Obviously you can’t time travel. The deadline is approaching quickly. The work needs to be done. How you talk to yourself is crucial when something like this happens. Nothing is going to be gained from being hard on yourself. The damage is already done and ruminating on why you didn’t do your work earlier won’t help you complete it. In fact, it will probably make your productivity worse. Instead, counter your bad thoughts with good ones! Say it with me: “I am only human and this grade won’t matter in five years.”
- Plan some free time. Nothing is worse than constantly studying, but sometimes it’s necessary. Just because you have to study now, doesn’t mean that you can’t plan something fun for yourself later! Once your schedule clears up, plan a nice activity. It can be as simple as watching your favorite movie with some friends or going shopping. Looking forward to something will help your stress levels and ultimately make you more productive in the long run.
- Know your limits. At some point there is nothing more you can do. You have studied as much as you are able to. It’s okay to let yourself relax and be content knowing that you did everything you could. I always used to stay up late the night before my tests studying. However, I started to realize that I missed more questions because I was exhausted than I answered correctly because of what I had studied from the previous night. It is better to get a good night’s sleep, both to reduce your stress and to help improve your grades. At the end of the day, I think it is important to recognize that you are human. We all make mistakes and we all have off days. Stress isn’t good for anyone and one grade won’t matter in the long run. I hope at least one of you will walk away from this post and be a little more compassionate with yourself.
About the Author:
Angela is an avid reader and writer with a passion to help others. She is a triple major at The Ohio State University in psychology, political science, and Italian with a prelaw track.