Coping With End of Year Stress
We are coming towards the end of the year (slowly? quickly? I can’t tell, it changes daily…) and with exams and final assessments in full swing, it can be a really stressful time no matter if you’re in first, second or final year. My module choices this year have meant that I have no exams (yay!), but I do still have coursework (boo…). As I write this blog, I have an essay plan in the next desktop over, followed by the essay I should be writing – my final essay in my degree, crazy… We all have our own personal struggles and challenges we face at university which can add onto the stress of exams and coursework deadlines, I know I’ve had my fair share of emotional rollercoasters! As a first year, perhaps these are the first exams you’re properly doing since having done your A-Levels. Maybe they don’t count for much but they’re your first university level exams, which can be very daunting. As a second year, you may only be experiencing university exams for the first time due to the pandemic and the impact this had last year. Although you have an extra year on the first year students, you missed out on some of the experiences they are going through right now. As a final year, you’re coming to the end of your degree. Your dissertation is submitted, you’re waiting to do your Viva, you’re doing the last exams you’ll do as an undergrad, and you’re handing in the last of your coursework. There’s a lot to be getting on with.
The work can seem never-ending, and it feels like you can’t take a break. But you should, because the end is in sight. Over my 3 years as an undergrad, I’ve tried and tested a good few methods for managing stress. Some have worked, some really haven’t, but it’s all about finding what works for you. Here are some ways you can try and manage your stress and make it through the final stretch of the year…
- Write out your deadlines – I find that making a list of all my important dates helps me to clear my head and manage that overwhelming feeling of stress which can hit me when my thoughts start to spiral. Sometimes, I can make things out to be worse or. more stressful than they are, so I try to put these into perspective and take it one step at a time. Also, once you’re done, you can cross the deadline off your list – is there anything more satisfying than this?
- Set yourself a time to stop working – I know that I work best in the mornings. The closest I’ve been to doing an all-nighter is staying up until 3am to finish an essay, but generally I know that my brain works less efficiently later in the day. Therefore, I like to get onto campus early to do work, and will set myself a time at which I’ll go home. Usually, this is between 4 and 6pm. After this time, I don’t do any more work at home because I know it won’t be as productive, and I want to give my brain a rest. Of course, there may be exceptional times where this isn’t necessarily applicable, but you know yourself and you know how you work best, so trust yourself 🙂
- Go for a walk – I find that taking a break and going for a walk is a great way to clear your head, whether this is alone or with a friend. It doesn’t have to be long, you can even listen to some music or your favourite podcast, just get outside!
- Get up from your desk – This is linked to point no.3. When I’m studying during the day, I find it’s really important for me to get up from my desk and take a short break. I go and get a coffee or a snack from Pret or Rootes grocery store, and I also go for lunch outside with my friends (weather permitting…). This means you’re not stuck at your desk staring at a screen all day, and you can give your brain time to process what you’ve been doing.
- Sleep – We’re all students here, and we all know that sleep is not necessarily something we’re all familiar with, unfortunately. But getting enough sleep is so important, especially at this time of year. It gives your brain and body a chance to recover and regenerate, ready for the next day. If you’re tired, you won’t necessarily be able to take in information as efficiently as you would if you had more energy (at least that’s what I’m like!).
- Fuel your body – Fuelling your body is just as important as sleep. Again, as students we’re not all Gordon Ramsays and Nigella Lawsons, so cooking isn’t always our strong point… but giving your body the nutrients and energy it needs can be super helpful and can keep you going through your stressful and busy days. Don’t neglect your body, because your brain is part of it and you’ll need this for your exams and assessments!
- Wellbeing Services – Finally, if you’re struggling, the Warwick Wellbeing Services can help. They cover a whole range of things, whatever you need. This time of year can be tough, so don’t hesitate to reach out and talk to someone, no matter how big or small you may think your feelings are. Here is a link for anyone who wants to find out more: https://warwick.ac.uk/services/wss/
As always, my messages are always open 🙂