It often happens under the pressure of deadlines and exams, and it gets worse if you don’t eat properly or exercise. Ignoring a sleep schedule or pulling all-nighters can really push it over the edge. We are talking about stress and anxiety. Exam anxiety and stress really creep up around the beginning of December when deadlines and exams are at their peak.
Many students try to deal with this stress in ways that are counter-productive and which often result in poorer performance on exams and assignments. Here are some tips that will help you prepare for this very stressful time, and if preparation is not enough, we also offer a few anxiety busters that will help you relax and refocus.
1. Stop procrastinating
Procrastination is the most common and often the least addressed problem that university students encounter. Even the students at the top of your classes often procrastinate! This sometimes gives you the illusion that everyone does it and that it doesn’t hinder performance. While it may be common to procrastinate, it is certainly harmful to anyone experiencing stress and anxiety and can cause students to miss deadlines or submit subpar work.
The key to successfully avoiding procrastination is to identify what you are doing to aid in you procrastinating, and then avoid doing it! Write down all your priorities in order of importance and complete them in that order. Don’t jump to paying your credit card bill because it is easier than reading Chapter 7, which is needed for your exam the next day.
Be mindful of diet, and try to make healthy eating choices. You may think you are too busy to eat and skip meals in order to cram more at Undergraduate Library, but this can be extremely harmful to your mind, mood, and body.
Schedule meal and snack breaks into your studying schedule. And allow yourself the time to prepare or purchase foods that will help fuel your body and mind. Opting for Taco Bell may be the quickest option, but it definitely won’t help you ace your exam.
If you need some help planning proper nutrition, the Campus Health Center has a dietitian on staff who can guide you through making healthy choices while managing the busy lifestyle of a university student.
Get enough sleep and try to establish a regular sleep routine. With academic pressures mounting, sleep is one of the first things to go. Too little or inconsistent sleep will heighten the stress of daily challenges and make you cranky and unproductive.
You may already forget what it feels like to be rested and get a proper eight hours of sleep. Try it for a few nights leading up to your busy finals schedule, and you will be astonished at how much more productive you can be if you just get enough sleep.
4. Stay connected
Keep in touch with family and friends from home but also participate wholeheartedly in campus life. Over time, developing new friendships and social skills will help you manage stress in difficult moments.
Venting your frustrations or talking about your fears regarding academic or other issues really helps. So talk to a friend who can lend an ear and help provide advice—and who is likely experiencing many of the same things!
5. Use a student counsellor
Do not be afraid to consult a professional counselor, when you need some extra help in coping with anxiety and stress. The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) department at Wayne is fantastic, and the counselors are experienced in helping students here on campus through many of the common challenges they may be facing.
Finals are a stressful time for everyone. Making a few small changes in your routine or diet can really help you manage your stress and anxiety. And remember that staying determined and focused on your academic goals is your number one priority. The rest will eventually fall into place, and the dots will connect when you look back. Stay focused and productive. Good luck!