At UEA we get 4 weeks off for Easter. While that should be pretty nice, it’s always a weird time of year because you know when you get back to uni, you probably have lots of deadlines to meet and then you’re straight into exam season. It goes without saying this can be a pretty stressful time of year, so here’s a few tips to try and manage stress levels…
- Know how you work best.
If you don’t work efficiently, everything is 100 times more stressful, so it’s good to know how you work best. Some people work well with background noise, whereas others need silence and no distractions. Sometimes I find if I work from home I’ll get easily distracted by wanting to talk to my housemates or getting a snack, but if I’m in the library I have no choice but to work solidly. It’s all about personal preference, so have a think about what works for you and then do it – no one’s a fan of a day spent in the library working, but if I know I’ll get a lot done then it’s definitely worth it!
2. Plan your working hours
Planning is key. Personally, to get stuff done, I need to plan what I’m going to work on and for how long and then stick to it. I used to think things like revision timetables were such a waste of time, but when I actually tried organising my time more carefully I realised how helpful it is and I’d really recommend it. If you’re really busy, it helps to make the most of the limited time you have, and if you have loads of time on your hands it gives your day more structure and direction. Win win.
3. Revise with friends
How you revise depends quite a lot on what subject you’re doing, but if you can it’s always good to revise with others sometimes. For the majority of your revision, I would say you need to work independently, but working in groups can be a nice way to make revision a bit more manageable. Also, teaching others is a great way to learn things yourself.
4. Know your deadlines
Make sure you know the deadlines for all your coursework and know when your exams are. This will help you to plan when work needs to get done and makes sure you don’t get any nasty shocks if you’ve got the deadline wrong in your mind. Writing them out can be a good way to make sure you’ve got all the dates right, and then as you complete them you can cross them out which is always therapeutic.
5. Your life shouldn’t be 100% work
No matter how behind you feel with work, or how stressed you’re getting about exams, don’t let it completely take over your life. Make sure you are making time to relax and see your friends otherwise you’ll just feel miserable! Sometimes if you’re feeling really overwhelmed with work the best thing to do is to have a day off to clear your head, even if it feels like you can’t afford to be taking time off.
6. Ask for help
Don’t be scared to ask for some help! Feedback from seminar leaders can be especially helpful for essays. Take your essay plan or ideas to your tutor and ask for their opinion, they know a lot more than you do and they will often have some really helpful feedback. If you’re genuinely struggling with stress, please tell someone. Deadlines and exams are important, but they shouldn’t be taking over your life with stress and anxiety. Talk to your advisor or make use of the Student Support Service if you’re struggling. The Student Support Service also offers help with study skills and academic work – find out more here.