Stress Relief

Stress, for many people, results from poor time management.  Often, stress occurs during crucial times of the semester, such as midterm and final exam periods.  What can you do to avoid the feeling of hopelessness, when you think you will never finish everything you need to do?  Take a break from your crazy life and read the following tips to reduce stress.

Academic Tips to Relieve Stress:

  • You have to be organized and stay on top of your work.  Try not to procrastinate too much because the work will become overwhelming. When you become overwhelmed, rushing at the last minute to finish everything, you will not produce the kind of work that you are capable of.
  • Prepare well for each class.  The more you prepare, the less stressed you will be during the lecture and/or discussion.
  • It is much easier to read one chapter of a textbook per week than to read five in one weekend and cram for a test.
  • When you read ahead of time, all you need are a few hours to review highlighted topics and class notes, making a large amount of information much more manageable.
  • Create question notes.  The week before an exam, review your readings/notes.  Next, fold a piece of notebook paper in half and write down questions that may be on the exam, but do not answer them. This sheet can be used as a quiz for the week.  Two or three days before the exam, try to answer the questions.  Use incorrect items to create a review sheet.
  • Review the new material and the old material the day you have the class.

Buy A Large, Long-Term Calendar

  • The best time to start major assignments is before the stress kicks in.
  • A large wall calendar can serve as a visual timeline and help you plan in advance the best time to start studying or begin a long-term project.

Make Lists That Focus on Priorities

  • Is everything that is on your list something that has to be done?
  • Does everything on your list have to be done as meticulously as you are planning on doing it?
  • While we are not advocating anything less than working your hardest, there are times when perfection is not required.
  • Stress can also result from a lack of physical activity. Be sure to schedule some sort of physical activity into your week, whether it is a trip to the gym, a pick-up game of Frisbee, a walk with a friend, or playing with a group of kids while you volunteer at a local school.

Need Help Relaxing?

Plan For Fun

  • Be sure to schedule in some pleasure activities, especially those that involve physical exercise.
  • A short break, a walk, a snack, or a phone conversation all offer a break from the monotony of studying and clear the head before the next stretch begins.


  • Your head will be a lot clearer, and you will be able to get through your work faster, if you are awake and well rested.
  • All-nighters actually hinder your performance, increasing the time it takes to complete tasks. Your brain actually works very hard to organize information while you are sleeping.


  • Going out for a walk or a jog can help you clear your mind of upcoming responsibities and/or assignments.
  • Alternate relaxing and then tensing up your muscles. Start by clenching (for approximately 5 seconds) your fists and relaxing them (do this a couple of times). Then do the same with the muscles (for approximately 5 seconds) in your shoulders, your thighs, and your lower legs. This is a great exercise to do in your dorm room or in your chair before you take an exam.

Final Tips

  • While stress for college students is usually related to academics, it can also come as a result of college life. Many people have a hard time adjusting from having their own room to sharing close quarters with three strangers almost overnight. Know that these feelings are normal and that most of the people around you are experiencing the same emotions.
  • While these can be fun times, be sure to take time for yourself. Being constantly surrounded by people without a significant amount of “alone time” can cause stress. Try to find time when you can be in your room by yourself, perhaps while your roommates are in classes or meetings. Take this time to do something you enjoy, such as watching your favorite show, reading a book, taking a nap, or writing a letter.

If you are still feeling stressed, would like some additional tips, or just need someone to talk to, contact a counselor in the Personal Counseling Center (Extension 2343) in Bedford Hall.


Being Prepared + Lower Anxiety= Better Grades!