Managing Your Degree – Coping with Stress

Stress. It’s a word that we hear time and time again and everyone looking at this blog post will roll their eyes and say “yeah, been there, done that and talked about it way too much”.

Even with the number of times that stress is mentioned during university, however, us university students (or even students studying FE courses) need to take the matter seriously.

Numerous ‘fancy pants’ scientists have written about stress and stress in young people. Go on google.. The first six search results bring up things like “60% of young people unable to cope due to pressure to succeed” and “Young adults spend up to six hours feeling stressed.” Who wants that? With all the great things that occur on campus and on courses, stress is the last thing that anyone needs on their mind.

But I must be careful here. Sure, we could talk about adolescents being in a stressful situation but what about people who are married and/or have kids who are returning to Uni to gain a qualification? The toll of Uni is not going to be easy on them either. Therefore, I think it is important to debunk the age gap and equalise the amount of stress people go through, whether as young as 16 or if you’re 32

So, going back to why the matter needs to be taken seriously. According to Natalia Szteliga from UniHealth (2019), the different reasons for stress include course work deadlines which was the top motive with a rate of 65%, exams and revision, financial difficulties, accommodation, fitting in and balancing commitments.

This can therefore impact stuff like your motivation to do things, your work performance, your mood causing you to feel more irritable or sad and your physical condition. With further reference to this, it could lead to a cycle of relying on drugs and alcohol in order to feel like you are coping better.

On a personal scale, I am studying a degree in animals and the workload has been difficult to keep up with. There have been assignments where I didn’t have the motivation to complete them or I felt like I didn’t understand them even though the brief looked pretty simple. On top of that, multiple assignments have had to be handed in. It felt like I couldn’t talk to one really, but I have had great support from my friends and my family.

So, use your family and friends to gain advice and gain relief from the ‘weight on your shoulders’. Utilise the support services such as the student councillor or the student union or go talk to your lecturers because they will always want to make sure you are feeling the best possible way.

Other suggestions include spending time on activities that you enjoy such as reading a book or going to watch a football match, creating a calm pack filled with different items that you use to relax or writing down the different things you need to do and completing them in steps.

Various websites that you can also look at include the NHS, The Royal College of Psychiatrists – coping with stress for young people, Prospects – 5 ways to manage student stress and Mind the mental health charity yet there are tons.

Don’t let yourself be beaten by stress.