Success Guide

Managing Academic Stress

Sources of academic stress include:

  • Leaving home
  • Commuting to school
  • Living with a roommate
  • Meeting new people
  • Handling personal problems on your own
  • Having less structure in your life and no one guiding you
  • Dealing with multiple priorities-like getting your school work done, socializing, working
  • Meeting family demands and getting good grades
  • Meeting the expectations of parents, teachers and friends
  • Not having enough time to get everything done
  • Being exposed to different values, cultures, lifestyles and temptations

Coping Strategies

Ways of coping can be immediate and short-term or long-term.

  • Some short-term ways of coping are:
  • Take a break when you need one
  • Take some deep breaths and slow down
  • Relax your body by stretching your muscles
  • Take a mental break by using visual imagery
  • Keep your sense of perspective by asking yourself:  Is this really worth getting upset about?
  • Use coping statements like:
    • “I can only do the best I can.”
    • “I refuse to get stressed out about this.”
    • “This is not he end of the world.”
    • “I’ll try to do better next time.”
    • “I know that I can’t be perfect, and I don’t expect myself to be.”

Some long-term coping strategies are:

  • Learning time management skills and carrying a daily planner
  • Learning how to get organized
  • Learning good study skills
  • Exercising
  • Getting enough rest
  • Eating well and nutritiously so your body has the fuel it needs
  • Having a good support network
  • Avoiding drug and alcohol abuse, because you are only creating a new set of problems
  • Setting your own goals and priorities and living by them
  • Not trying to please others and live up to their expectations
  • Giving up having to be perfect
  • Learning how to think rationally and optimistically

If you are having trouble handling stress on your own, be willing to get help from your professor, advisor, R.A., Campus Minister or from a university Counseling Services staff member.

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