As wonderful as university life can be, it can also be a very stressful time. There is a lot of different things to balance; studying, university friends, friends from home, romantic relationships, family, job, staying fit, hobbies.. (and breathe). This is while getting the recommended 8 hours sleep a night! So how can we deal with all this? Not like this
Here’s my best tips on how to deal with university life.
Get your priorities straight! Studying comes first
You’ve done freshers week and loved every second of it. With all the freshers fun you’ve forgotten what you’ve actually come to university to do… study!
The easiest way the keep your time at university as stress free as possible is to keep up to date with all your readings and get ahead with your coursework. Generally deadlines are close together so the more organised you are with your coursework the better. My general rule is to try and start an essay at least 2 weeks before it is due and aim to have it finished a couple days before. To be this organised it is a great idea to get some sort of diary or planner so you can plan your week.
University social life- You’re only a fresher once!
My advice to all freshers, is although studying should come first, you’re only a fresher once! While living on campus university social life is in the palm of your hand with sub zero, SU bar and many places to eat all in a short walking distance.
Once a lecturer told me ‘If you treat university like a full time job and do all your work in the day then you’ll have your evenings and weekends free to do what you want’. This advice is so important and if you plan your days right you have all the time to go out and enjoy yourself!
You decide how to shape your university life
From this decagon, you can see there are a lot of things as a student you may need to do, but lets be realistic you can’t do them all!
You need to decide what is important to you to shape your university life. I would say you’ll have time for about 3 extra things to do in your spare time when you’re not studying, without adding too much stress! You may have a passion for a sport and decide to join a sports team. You may decide that you want to enhance your CV and join the V team to volunteer or earn some money and get a job.My 3 things I do with my spare time is having a part time job, going to the gym and socialising with friends, family and boyfriend.
But remember what’s most important.. sleep!
Last year in one of my modules we learnt about how important sleep is for everyday functioning. It is recommended that we get 8 hours sleep a night. How can you expect to get a 2:1 in an essay when you’ve written it on 3 hours sleep?! During freshers you may start to think you’re superhuman going out till 3am then getting up for 9am lectures. Doing this everyday would really take a tole on your body and your mind. Sleep helps your immune system, memory and learning. So if you’re not getting enough sleep you are more likely to become ill and won’t be able to learn or remember information for your studies! You will be a lot more stressed without the right amount of sleep.
Getting help for stress
Sometimes, however good at planning you are, stress is unavoidable. Keeping on top of studying is the best way to stay stress free while at university. However if you come across problems while doing coursework, contact the lecture or student services who may be able to help you. If there is any reason why you may not be able to finish a piece of coursework on time remember you can fill out an extenuating circumstances form.
For stress that is related and/or unrelated to studying, such as money trouble, student conduct and health and well being then you can go to student advice. Here is the link for their page https://www.essexstudent.com/advice/
You can also go to student support. For example they deal with supporting disabilities, mental and emotional help and can help refer you for counselling or mentoring. Here is their page http://www.essex.ac.uk/life/facilities/support.aspx
I hope this helps. Good luck and enjoy yourself!