12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Now that your first-year registration is complete, the orientation period is over and matriculation ceremony is done and dusted, you are feeling excited 😉 .

Lectures, assignments, class works, term papers, group works and other responsibilities are already in progress and they seem unending even when the time to attend to them all is so limited.

While you are still trying to enjoy the University system as you see it in movies, several impromptu tests have taken you unawares with little or no preparation and whenever you are in class, it seems the lecturers speak in foreign tongues. This is the beginning of anxiety.

You hardly understand what is being taught in class and while other students ask questions, you begin to wonder where they got questions from the subject matter.

Yet, there are a whole lot of things to read, lots of tutorials to attend, and other extra-curricular activities – to mention a few – beckon at you every now and then.

Now you ask yourself – ‘How do I cope with all these and achieve my academic goals?’

Many other questions pop up without answers, making your head feel so hot. Well, the only seemingly possible solution is for you to learn how to cope with all these university activities without breaking down or being stressed out.

You are in the right place because we are here for you to learn just that. Now, how do you cope with stress as a student?

I will be giving you some tips that have helped me and others to succeed in that phase of life. Just don’t stop until you get to the end because I will be sharing 12 strategies that will help you cope with stress and smile home with the results you so much desire.

1. You are now an adult
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Yes, irrespective of your age, once you are admitted into the university, you automatically become an adult! Surprised? Well, that’s the implication. You are now expected to be responsible for your life. Tell yourself this over and over again especially if you have parents who want to assist you with everything. “I am now an adult”. This implies responsibility and not frivolity. Every choice you make not only determine your attitude to life but also the kind of result you get at the end of your studies.

So, you have to learn now that all your decisions have consequences which will determine who you become! You sincerely need to know what you want from life and how you will achieve it.

2. Have a plan

There is a popular saying – “failure to plan, is planning to fail.” As a student, you need to draw out plans for yourself according to your own preferences, desires, abilities and expectations. Plan your time, your activities, your involvements, your leisure and work time, your everything! Never run a course without a plan. Never!

Plan and re-evaluate your time. Try as much as possible to have more than one plan. Having alternative plans give you room to choose what suits you most for different situations. With more options, you can face your challenge in a more relaxed state which in turn reduces your stress.

3. Set a goal for yourself
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

You need to ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing. Why are you in the university? See the big picture and always remind yourself why it is worth the trouble. Irrespective of why you are in the university, set achievable goals for yourself based on your capacity and your ambition. Set the goals according to your ability. Do not just aim high, also design how you want to achieve whatever goal you have set for yourself. Do your best to stick to your plan. For instance, if you have always been an average student, while aiming higher, do not subject yourself to unnecessary stress by aiming at what is far beyond your reach. Aim higher but be realistic and practical in your approach.

4. Be focused on your plan

There will be many things calling your attention but you have to stay focused on what you have set out to achieve.  Many of these things are good in themselves but they will take away a big chunk of your limited time which will contribute to your stress. You may decide to use your holiday period to pursue some of these things calling your attention rather than squeezing them into your tight schedule. Do not be a jack of all trades. Sometimes you have to turn off your mobile phone and create a very calm, cool and quiet environment for yourself. This is usually refreshing and helps you to relax.

5. Make friends with like minds
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Do not just follow the multitude, be deliberate about the people you move with. Move with people of like passion and don’t hesitate to change friends once their passion or attitude changes. Also, stay around positive and happy people. Do not always stay around moody people or people who have issues with their friends succeeding. Do not move with people that will stress you emotionally. Be emotionally stable and avoid unhealthy relationships.

6. Time management
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Time is life. Learn how to manage your time. Learn how to maximize your time at every point in time. Every time wasted is life wasted. Do not waste your life. Live life deliberately. You can never tell how much you can achieve in 5 minutes until you decide to invest it purposefully. Time is money. Time is everything. Be time conscious. Avoid time wasting associations and activities.

7. Celebrate your achievement
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Take time to celebrate yourself after you achieve any of your set goals no matter how small that looks. If you don’t celebrate yourself, who will? Be excited about your achievements! Celebrating your achievements refreshes you and gives you the energy to work harder on other goals. Encourage yourself when you perform below expectation. Do this using your past achievements. Never stay too long mourning a failure. Move on as quickly as possible urging yourself to get your best. Be positive in your disposition to things and life generally. One failure should not set you back so encourage yourself and move on because failure is part of life and failure makes your success story more inspiring! But limit your failures by learning from past failure(s).

8. Relate to people in higher level
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Make friends with people in higher level to you. They will educate you on your present and next level. When you ask them questions, they could also give you relevant materials and information you might need. This will help you to prepared ahead of the class and the semester or session generally. Also, they will help you out of so many difficult situations by providing adequate and relevant mentoring based on experience.

9. Avoid procrastination

Procrastinations kill success and eat up useful time. What you ought to do, do it quickly. Do not wait till it gets late.  Do not procrastinate! Always give attention to continuous assessments and classes. Read daily. Do not wait for test or exam timetables before you begin preparations. Start your preparation now! You only have today. So, do all you have to do now!

10. Eat good food (balanced diet)
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Eat foods that help your brain to function well. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Drink a lot of water in order to increase your performance. Avoid eating junks all the time. In fact, reduce your intake of junks. Take foods that are well prepared and rich in all nutrients relevant to your body’s optimal functionality.

11. Create time for rest, exercise and play
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress
12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress

Take some time to relax, refresh and enjoy yourself. Do not stop living because you want to achieve your academic goals. Remember the saying; “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Your brain needs a period of rest. Exercise helps your body metabolism; it helps your muscles and digestive system. It helps blood circulation too. So, exercise is also necessary for you to achieve success. Move your body, stay healthy and your mind will follow suit! Keep your environment tidy. Stay calm, cool, and concentrate on enjoying your study.

12. Love the Lord your God

He owns you, loves you and knows what is best for you. Decide to live for him, employ the Holy Spirit to guide you in all you do and you will be happy you did. As a Christian, always ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your academics. He is your teacher. The Bible says He will teach you all things! Yes, all things. Do not limit Him to your Bible Study alone. Ask Him to help you with difficult times. Commit your plans to Him and you can be assured that you will succeed in all you do in obedience to Him.

I hope this helps you in your academic pursuits and in all other things you place your hands on.

Post Author: Oluwajuwon Kayode

2 Replies to “12 Strategies to Cope with University Anxiety and Stress”

  1. Thank you for this wonderful article. My daughter is heading off to school in September (currently taking a GAP year) and I have been so worried about her. She has no time management skills and Procrastination is her middle name. She’s never really failed at anything but I feel this might be it, once she doesn’t have her Momma checking in all the time. What I realized from your article is that I’m not seeing her as an Adult!

    Time to let my little bird fly I guess and hand over the responsibility and associated anxiety to her. I will make sure she prints this and takes it with her to school so she can refer back.

    Thanks again!

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