How do I get over the stress from previous semester?

I had been really stressed throughout the last semester and during swot vac, i just collapsed. I couldn’t study at all. When the result was out, I failed my subject. What can I do to stop thinking of my failure and my weakness of not being able to handle stress? I really don’t want to screw this semester too.

I’m glad you asked this question because you are definitely not alone! Stress is a normal experience, and is something that affects every student. It’s often a sign that you are working towards something that is really important to you, and you are challenging yourself, which is a great thing. It’s definitely not weakness or failure, and a certain degree of stress can help you study, but it sounds like for you it built up to a point where it caused problems. This happens, but you can learn from the experience to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Firstly, what do you think led to the stress building up to that point? Sometimes people push themselves too hard for too long, then when it really counts they run out of energy. Remember that getting through a semester is a marathon not a sprint and you need to make sure you are working in a way that is sustainable. Try not to study so much that there isn’t enough time to sleep, see friends, relax and stay healthy. Sometimes people have unrealistic expectations of themselves which then adds to the pressure. Worrying about stress and labelling it as a failure or weakness can also make it worse, so try to accept that you will feel stressed, and instead aim to notice it when it first appears and ensure you are regularly finding ways to manage it.

Here are some strategies to consider:

• Reduce your demands – do you need to reduce work hours or study load, or perhaps say no to other demands on your time?
• Schedule your time effectively – knowing how much time you need to study helps you be more efficient, and to enjoy your free time with less guilt.
• Maintain your health – get enough sleep, eat well and exercise regularly.
• Spend your free time well – laugh, see friends, have fun, or just relax on your own.
• Watch your ‘self-talk’ – expecting yourself to be perfect, focusing on worst case scenarios or putting yourself down will increase stress.

Finally, make sure you’re asking for help and not trying to do it all on your own. Ask teachers and fellow students for help, or see academic skills for assistance with your study. For managing stress, check out our website for tip sheets, information on our free workshops or make an appointment with a counsellor.

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