With exams rapidly approaching and the semester no doubt heating up for everyone out there, the pressure is building. It is at this point where for most people, the stress starts to set in. Those two essays and a lab report due in Week 11 seem to mock you from your wall planner, the questions from your peers as to whether you have ‘started this’ or ‘finished that’ remind you that no you haven’t, and when on earth are you going to get the time to do them? The more you think about it, the more worry and fear sets in, and before you know it, you have been sitting there for an hour stressing. At which point you are an hour closer to the due date, but no closer to getting anything done.
So maybe it is time to think about what this time spent stressing achieves? When it comes down to it, not a lot. You have assignments due, you have tests coming up, and no amount of stress is going to change that. So ditch the stress and get them done. Now, this is easily said... but how is this actually accomplished?
1. Don’t let yourself wind up in a stressful situation in the first place
Be proactive and work on your time management. Look after your future-self, by getting your present-self motivated. Leave yourself enough time to finish things comfortably instead of binge-watching Friends for an afternoon ‘because you’ve still got a week to do it.’ Those episodes will still be there when the essay is done, and then you can watch them guilt-free!
2. Don’t stress over what you can’t change
You can’t change the fact that you left that 3000 word essay to the last minute. What’s done is done, and the only thing left to do now is to actually write the thing. Your time would be more wisely spent doing some work than regretting your past decisions.
Everything changes when you look at it from a different perspective. That 3000 word essay due in two days may seem like the end of the world right now, however two days or one essay in terms of your whole degree, or even your whole lifetime, is nothing but a blink of an eye. That is not to say that these assignments aren’t important, but considering over 90% of South Africans won’t get the chance to receive a tertiary education, perhaps your problems could use a bit of perspective.
Stress is something that wreaks havoc on your endocrine system and is well-known to be associated with cardiovascular disease, depression and other disorders. So the fact that it is considered normal - even beneficial - by some among the student population is something which is of considerable concern. Your well-being is about more than eating healthy and hitting the gym a few times a week; it also includes your mental health. So give your brain and body a break, and de-stress your life.