On the 7th of June I sat my last ever uni exam. I recently found out that I will be graduating with a 2:1 aswel, which I’m pretty pleased about! I see so many posts about the social side of uni, but I feel like what needs to be talked about more is stress, and the pressures that are put on students. We all know that Uni isn’t meant to be an easy ride, but jeeze, it can get so tough! Over the past 3 years I’ve learnt some really valuable ways to cope with stress a whole lot better.
In the first year I was catered for, this resulted in me eating crumpets for tea around 3 or 4 times a week because I didn’t like the
food slop that was being served. I gained a stone, started drinking energy drinks, had acne because I drank too many vodka lemonade and limes, and generally felt like crap. Luckily in my second year I realised that living like that really wasn’t for me.I started working at a bar, which meant that I couldn’t go out half as much, and I realised that actually made me a happier person! I started going to the gym, making healthy meals and I just felt amazing. It can be so hard to stick to a good and balanced routine, but looking back, I think it is so much harder to not be in a healthy routine due to the stress it causes, I only wish I had done it sooner!
In my second year I did a placement with a mental health charity where I was able to learn a lot more about mindfulness, and I started to fall in love with it. I was noticing that during my 10 minute walk from my house to the library I was always thinking and stressing about things in the past or the future, without just relaxing and actually having a proper break from work. Now I love using the Calm app, there are short mindfulness meditations (not as scary as it sounds) that really help me destress and put everything into perspective. I feel like so many people just think mindfulness is a fad, but whilst in uni my productivity levels increased after every single meditation, and I felt so much calmer.. I still use them every now and again still, and I feel exactly the same benefits!
BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF!
With academic situations a lot of the time there are social situations that go along with them, and some of them can be stressful. I struggled for a while to come to terms with the fact that I just wasn’t that girl that wanted to go out and get bladdered every week (I’m much more of a shopping and coffee kinda person, boring to some I guess). I love going on nights out when I know that I don’t have anything to do the next day, but in the final year I just didn’t feel up to it… And that was ok! What ever you enjoy doing the most is ok! The amount of stress I put myself under feeling like I wasn’t able to fit in because I didn’t want to go on nights out was unreal. The minute I decided to move back home and commute to my exams I became so much happier and stress free, I was able to concentrate more and I honestly feel like I learnt more in my 2 weeks at home than I did revising for 8 weeks solidly at uni! If I had been more true to myself earlier then I think that the start of this year would have been a much happier one for me.
BECOMING MORE ORGANISED!
We all know how important being organised is, but for me it had a massive difference on how stressed I was. In my last year of uni I would rarely do any work past 9pm, I chilled out most evenings and made sure that I was organised enough to get everything done in the day. I had a wall planner, a diary and my work was organised in folders… That was it! Those three things combined made my life so much easier, I didn’t have the stress of forgetting a deadline or missing a meeting. I organised my time by making uni work for me, over Christmas I took two weeks off and over Easter I did pretty much no work (in the final year)! With organisation comes being able to give yourself down time, during periods when I was constantly doing uni work and neglecting giving myself some me time, I was so unmotivated and stressed. Giving yourself some time off is not being a bad student (if you’re organised), it’s being a human!
I feel like a lot of what I’ve mentioned transfers into every day life, I try to follow all of these and stay stress free. Stress is something that pretty much all of us have to deal with, but it’s how we cope with it that is so important. I didn’t follow all of these things throughout my time at uni, but I feel like if I had from the start then my experience would have been even better!
What are your favourite ways to cope with stress?