I’ve just started back at university and I’m already feeling so overwhelmed, especially considering it’s my third and final year! The thought of a dissertation is honestly giving me so much anxiety, so I thought I’d share my top tips with you guys on how to deal with academic stress, as I surely can’t be the only one feeling overwhelmed and worried around this time of year!
Take regular breaks from uni work: Even if you’re dedicating a whole day to uni work, you need to ensure you’re taking regular breaks in order to prevent burn-out. Studying for 6 hours straight isn’t good for anyone, and frankly you’re brain will be fried. That way, you’ve done 6 straight hours but find yourself not being able to do anything else afterwards. If you take 15 minute breaks every hour or so, you’ll probably find you end up doing more overall than you usually would if you didn’t take breaks. You also won’t be as tired and moody when you go home at the end of the day, which is always a bonus! This actually leads me onto my next tip..
Leave time at the end of the day for relaxation: This is probably the most important tip for me. I have to ensure I leave at least an hour at the end of every working day to watch TV, have a bath or scroll social media, as it allows me time to unwind and not feel overwhelmed with all the information I’ve stored in my brain. If you don’t have any alone time doing your own thing and are just constantly studying, you will become overly stressed and probably retain less information from your revision.
Get an adequate amount of sleep: This is something I learnt from sitting my GCSE maths exam. I had worked so incredibly hard revising for this maths exam for months on end, so much so that the night before the exam my teacher actually advised me to not revise. I was shocked / confused too, but we both knew that if I went home and revised the night before the exam, I wouldn’t know when to stop and I’d be going until the early hours of the morning. Consequently, I’d be sleep deprived and my brain wouldn’t work as well in the exam. Furthermore, I also would have stressed about the information I thought I didn’t know, therefore becoming overwhelmed and not feeling as confident for my exam. Instead, I had a long, relaxing bath and got an early night. I passed the exam with flying colours, and I’m convinced taking this advice was a huge factor towards my pass mark!
Go to your lectures and seminars: This might seem like an obviously one, but apparently it wasn’t obvious to me throughout first and second year.. It’s so easy to miss a couple of lectures ‘here and there’ and make it into a habit, missing lots more than you thought you were going to and ending up not knowing vital information you need for your assignments/exams. Trust me, reading the lecture slides sat in bed is NOT as helpful as being taught by a lecturer – don’t fall for this myth like I did! I honestly believe I’d have got a way better mark if I’d have actually made more of an effort to attend my lectures last year, so I definitely won’t be making the same mistake this year (she says this now, but we’ll see…)
Only take crucial lecture notes: I was so bad at this in first year but got a little better in second year, luckily. I used to write down every single word on the lecture slides in front of me, which obviously took forever and wasn’t very helpful as I was rushing to write it all down rather than actually taking in information. I now only note down what I’m unsure of and need to go over later, and it’s so much more helpful this way! Less stressful, less time-consuming, and overall less pointless!
What are your top university tips? I’d love to hear some more that I could use to help myself too!