Are you finding yourself stressed?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. During revision and exam periods, anxiety and stress are very common problems for students – even for those who appear confident and calm. Stress is your body’s natural response to a challenge, threat or excitement . It can be positive and can help prepare you for your exams. The key is to not let it turn in to Distress.
Is the glass half full or half empty?
Your interpretation of the physical symptoms of stress is important. Consider a student before an exam and an athlete before a competition: both experience the sweaty palms, the racing heart and the knot/butterflies in the pit of their stomach. The student feels distressed and views the symptoms as a sign of impending doom, but the athlete will take advantage of the rush to motivate herself to perform well. Stress can be a barrier or a motivating agent – it all depends on how you interpret, label and manage what you are experiencing.
Esteem and Morale
- Base expectations on your past performance; using other people’s achievements to set a standard will almost always set your expectations incorrectly; either too high or too low.
- Be positive about what you do know, not negative about what you don’t.
- Give yourself credit whenever possible. Ticking off completed units creates a sense of forward movement. A checklist for the day’s targets (make sure they are SMART, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time related) can also boost morale.
- You may feel pressured by someone else but remember that you are the best judge of your own achievements.
- Challenge any negative thoughts and replace them with a positive one straight away.
- Aim to do your best but recognise that none of us can be perfect all of the time.
- Keep things in perspective. The exams might seem like the most crucial thing right now, but in the grander scheme of your whole life they are only a small part.
- Be flexible – Sometimes situations change and you may need to re-adjust your goals or work plan to fit in with the changes.
- Exams have a beginning and an end, and the stress that goes along with them should end with the exam.
- A failed exam doesn’t mean that you’re a failure. Take some time to relax
Break a large task into manageable parts! Cover the essentials first, add refinements or further details later -if there is time.
- If you find that you’re struggling with a particular module, talk to your lecture.
- Don’t drink too much coffee, tea and fizzy drinks; the caffeine will ‘hype’ you and make your thinking less clear.
- Eat healthily and regularly; your brain will benefit from the nutrients.
- Having a balance of activities in your life may help to avoid you burning out.
- If you’re tired, worries can get blown out of proportion. Make sure you have time to unwind before bed and aim for about 8 hours a night!!
- Exams don’t exist in isolation; there may well be other events going on in your life, which are beyond your control, that are putting you under pressure. It may help to seek practical help, support and advice.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try talking to a friend or family member. Or call to your Students Unions Welfare Officer, Education Officer or the Student Counselling and Development Centre (based in the Health Centre).
Talking is not a sign of weakness. Please talk. If you’re feeling alone or down, frustrated or isolated, don’t hesitate to contact any of the following services.
- Niteline – 1800 32 32 32
- Student Counselling – email@example.com
- Welfare Officer– firstname.lastname@example.org 086 3836794
- Samaritans: 116 123
- Aware Depression Helpline: 1800 80 48 48