How to make stress work for you

As the leaves turn colors and die, students around campus are feeling like they are dying as well.

This epidemic of stress and anxiety affect the most laid-back students. The person who skips class every Friday is probably freaking out right now over their upcoming papers and exams that are due.

With panic sweeping our campus, the main question many are asking is if they will ever thrive instead of surviving in this crunch period. I, myself, have wondered if the mountain of papers before will ever end. After much soul-searching and researching, I have found some tactics in making one’s stress work for them instead of against them.

The first step to take is to minimize the stress that is preventing one from finishing their task. When it seems like there is no way this paper or quiz will be done by its due date, it is easy to give up and let Blackboard take its course.

However, I strongly believe that it is better to have an assignment that is filled with ‘okay’ content rather than no content at all. Inhale through the nose and exhale from the mouth at least 10 times or more until these feelings of hopelessness subside. Other activities that may help reduce this unwanted stress or anxiety are listening to calming music or discussing it with someone who is a good listener or has a calming attitude.

After removing this unwanted stress, take what is left of it and utilize it to do the best work. Frequently, I find myself doing my best work when a small amount of stress is added to my process. It gives me the extra energy to carry me throughout the rest. A student who is working on a lab report or paper due the next morning will verify the importance of pressure in getting the task accomplished.

If none of these processes work, talk to other people who have been through the struggle of crunch season. They might be able to impart some knowledge and helpful tips.

One piece of advice that really helps is taking everything one day at a time. Planning for the future is helpful, but I often find myself building up all the assignments and tests I have coming. Schedule time for what is most important and add time for yourself. Taking breaks helps to ease the pressure and refocus on what is at hand.

The end of October and November is an overwhelming time for everyone. However, if students and professors use tactics to reduce unwanted stress, they will be more successful. The pressure that is left over helps accomplish the workload ahead. It is also important to know that no one is alone in this battle.

Anxiety impacts everyone. Easy ways to feel supported are to reach out to others and express your struggles. People are stronger when they connect and grow bonds through shared experiences. With these pieces of advice, may the semester treat you well.