How I cope with stress at uni

By Rachel Measures, BA (Hons) Media, 3rd Year.

‘These three years are the best years of your life…’

Well, they might be, but being at university can be extremely stressful for many people. In my first year, I was getting to grips with living alone and finding new friends, learning to have responsibility over my own finances and what I was going to eat, and while fun at first, this became a lot to deal with. This is not forgetting the fact that I had to learn how to write academic essays for the first time with my first storm of deadlines.

Now, as a 3rd year trying to decide what I’m going to do after I graduate, there’s still a lot on my mind, from getting good grades, to deciding where I’m going to live, who I’m going to live with and with what money, deciding whether I want to continue my studies with a Masters or go straight into a graduate job and whether I’ll be able to even find one.

Moral of the story, it can be hard. But this doesn’t mean you have to struggle in silence. Sheffield Hallam University and the Student’s Union have several services that are there to help you through.

But first here’s some tips to help you improve your wellbeing:

  1. Look after yourself. Yes, it’s obvious but it’s really important. Make sure you eat well, sleep well and occasionally go for a walk and enjoy some time outside. Give yourself a break from whatever might be getting you down. Work little and often, and take lots of breaks, that’s what I do to keep myself motivated.
  2. Set realistic goals for studying, strike a decent balance between study and life. I’ve learnt to work on my assignments during the day and then give myself a relaxing night, either with friends or catching up on TV.
  3. Take time to relax. Joining a society or a sports club can be really helpful for this. I joined Hallam Harmonies to have fun and take a break from uni work.
  4. Remember feeling homesick is natural. While it might not seem it, everyone feels homesick from time to time. Making time to see your family can sometimes be difficult but try to put aside some time even for a phone call.
  5. Take control. Often we get stressed because we feel out of control, and our thoughts are unorganised. By taking control, and organising ourselves, we can feel empowered and satisfied, and this can help us deal with the things that are causing us to feel stressed.
  6. Know where to find help. Sometimes I find it helpful to have a chat with a friend to gain some perspective on what might be getting me down, but the university offer Student Wellbeing Services, Online self-help, wellbeing workshops and 1-2-1 confidential services too.  The Student’s Union offer advice on a range of topics from drugs and alcohol, sexual health and relationships, fitness and exercise, to mental health and wellbeing.

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