Stress, stress, & more stress

by Amanda

I’m not good at managing my stress. I don’t think I’ve ever been close to figuring out how to deal with stress. I just kind of go on with everything and if it works out, then it works out.

That doesn’t always work. It hardly ever works. I had all my midterms for my classes this week and I swear, I feel like professors sit and plot to schedule all their exams around the same day. I know it doesn’t really matter much when you know the material, but my little head can only take so much! I just know I’d do better on the exams if they weren’t all piled on in the same time period. I like to focus on things one at a time.

So I’ve learned that I’m severely guilty of self-handicapping (as I’m sure many students are as well). I learned this wonderful psychology term from one of my current classes. Believe me, just because I know that I do it doesn’t mean that I’ll stop. In fact, it just seems like I’ve found an excuse to excuse my excuses. Does that make sense? Of course, I want to stop making excuses for everything. I know that if I do poorly on an exam, it’s all on me and my decisions. It’s just for some reason I find myself stockpiling stress by procrastinating by every possible means. Everything else just seems a lot more enjoyable when you know you have exam material to study.

I’ve sat around and organized things. I’ve worked on my sites. I bake. I watch TV shows. I play games. I somehow always manage to get through most, if not all, the material in the amount of time I have, but I can’t seem to do it without doing everything else. Every minute that I spend doing something other than study is one extra minute I spend worrying and stressing about how poorly I’m going to do on the exam. Funny thing is, I know this is a problem. I just can’t bring myself to study and only study. My breaks are always at least two times longer than the amount I spent studying.

In the past I’ve tried listing out all the tasks (study material) I had to get through. I’ve scheduled times to study and times for breaks. I’ve organized my study material into categories (what I really don’t know vs. what I already know well). I’ve tried using those focus apps that block certain websites for a certain period of time, but there are just so many other ways I can access procrastination material.

I will never understand how some people manage to do everything for classes, work, internships, and go out to party every other day. Does everyone around here run on a different time system? I’m pretty sure I could deal if I had more time. Perhaps if I started procrastinating earlier…? Heh, it’s worth a try. 😛

What do you do to balance stress in your life?

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Alice February 21, 2014 - 12:24 AM

Ha, I wonder if procrastination is somewhat a relative to self-handicapping 😛

Like you, I’m not good at dealing / managing stress. I get even more destructive and just really bitchy when I’m under pressure…not that I’m generally kind or anything (psst socially withdrawn introvert) and I tend to scold everything everyone anything anyone when I’m under pressure. Like “no, people. get away from me; don’t even think about breathing beside me I will knock you down” kind of attitude haha

While you’re stressed over studying and reading books and memorizing theories, as for me it’s all about delaying and pushing deadlines. Sometimes I feel like those who take majors such as business (those who sit for paper exams and then leave the room like that for the day) MAY have it better than we, art students. I mean…I understand you guys have theories to remember and such but there’s no need for test printing the projects, think about what paper to used etc etc and all those annoying, experimental tidbits so it’s perhaps A LIIIITLE lighter than us.. 😛

I swear in my faculty everyone pushes deadlines like “oh we still have 2 weeks for that…so for now, let’s just play games first and do something else” and then when deadline’s really near, we all scream and freak out and ask each other “are you guys done yeeet” and then we sacrifice sleep for like days just to finish a project haha.. it’s crazy but we ALWAYS do it again and again 😛

Although I procrastinate I sometimes realize the things I must do…like when there’s an illustration project where it will have me PAINT, I force myself to get off, say, tumblr and say “come on self, if you don’t do this first you’re gonna be so screwed” so yeah and then slowly I drowned myself into the project and I succeed in ignoring whatever excitement it is on the internet. That or I multitask… I do my project while watching streamed tv shows on pc…hey at least I get my hands working right 😉 hahaha then again deep inside I know that if I hadn’t procrastinated, I could still re-do some of the flaws in my project ^^;;

I don’t understand how some people can manage their outgoing time AND project time altogether too. like whoah if I have projects and my parents force me to tag along with them somewhere, I’m gonna explode and scream and sometimes cry (out of anger) because they refuse to understand how tight up my schedule is 🙁
It sucks. Often when I’m busy with projects, they won’t understand and they end up saying stuff like, “well if you’re smart enough you can manage all the things in one go!” blah -___-

I just recently finished my final projects and phew those 2-3 weeks were nightmare >__< it was super stressing with all the requirements and sleepless nights and inconsiderate parents who refused to understand. Haha I think I cracked and cried twice during those weeks out of exhaustion and frustration T-T

Tong February 22, 2014 - 11:25 PM

Hmm how do I deal with stress? I usually take a break to do something like play guitar or listen to music, haha. Something to clear my mind. I can’t focus on something very well either, but in order to focus better I found its better to go somewhere like a library or cafe with a friend, this is better than being alone because when I’m with a friend I find its easier to focus on the task at hand rather than getting distracted, so getting a disciplined friend is best. Of course, I’m also a very determined and stubborn person, so everything I do in terms of goals, and often I have my goals set in my mind everyday what I’m going to accomplish.

Michelle February 23, 2014 - 12:16 PM

I do not handle stress well and take it out on me. It’s not a good thing and my therapist told me that I can’t do that anymore. I need a more healthy way of doing it instead of cutting or else. It’s not fair to myself or anyone. Still, I’m determined to get better at it. I just wish I knew ways to do it…I can only guess and stay away from what stresses me or just better yet do something else, but that’s really all I know.

Maybe I’ll figure it out, maybe?

Cat February 23, 2014 - 10:33 PM

I wasn’t good at managing my study time in college either 🙁 I always found myself doing other things, even chores. Sometimes my roommate and I would find excuses to go grocery shopping instead of studying, haha. I think back then, I tried to reward myself somehow. Like, telling myself I couldn’t play video games until I finished certain things. Having friends in the same classes helped too because we’d study together.

It’s different now that I don’t have school, so to-do lists are enough to keep me on track. When I’m stressed, I try to spend that energy on something else, like a hobby or exercising. I probably couldn’t do that back in school though, since that would turn out like you said, where it’s less time to study XD;;

I always hated it when I had too many exams right by each other. It’s so much harder to study for. Good luck with all of that! I hope you figure something out!

Melissa February 24, 2014 - 5:52 AM

I know how you feel, I think everyone does xD I’ve always tried the 30-min switch, first study for 30 min and then 30 min something fun, 30 min study and then 30 min fun, etc. that tends to work for me

Soph February 24, 2014 - 11:50 AM

Hi 🙂
I don’t think stress and balance appear at the same time. And I don’t think exams ever appear without stress. I literally did 3 and a half hours of mock maths exams and 1h45 of physics today. It’s exhausting! And your attention span doesn’t even last that long. I remember in physics it was telling me facts about cyclotrons and I didn’t know what it was saying… BRAIN MELTS.

The past week I’ve been revising. And like you, procrastination and breaks are just a huge part of the ritual. Some people can just get their heads down and do it, but it’s so hard! To be honest, I used to be like that, but I honestly don’t know how I did it. It’s like, even when I’m doing the work, I’m thinking of what I’ll do in my break. I guess it’s just a matter of saying “HEY.” to yourself, “STOP MESSING AROUND.” I try this with little success, but hopefully the stress of exams will sort of kick it into action a little.

Good luck to you!!

Nancy February 25, 2014 - 4:30 PM

Overcoming stress is a lot harder than it sounds; especially in the college level with all of that studying +__+. Hopefully you did well in all of your midterms! Every professors probably think their class holds the highest importance and plans the midterm in the middle of the semester/quarter with no regard to everyone else .___.

I find self-handicapping useful if you’re trying to prevent yourself from ultimately giving up. Though there is so much before excuses are no longer acceptable :x. I would say to take things one step at a time and prevent excuses from occurring. That helped me a bit when I planned things out accordingly like what you did.

The best tip I would give about coping with studying is have a strong willpower. Have that need to study first before doing leisure activities. I failed a couple of classes before because of laziness so I want to do what I can to avoid that same fate again. On a side note, eating on the side helps me cope with stress but that leads to weight gain -___-.

If someone with a 3.9+ college GPA with full EC’s share their secrets within the comments section, please do pass it forward :-).

Jenny March 9, 2014 - 2:11 PM

I was the exact same way in college, and I’m sure we’re not alone. I found that the best way for me to study was to actually remove myself from everything that could distract me, which meant taking my books and my notes and going to the library. When you’re surrounded by others who are studying, it really does motivate you to study too. Now the only hard part of this is to take that first step and actually go to the library, lol.

nyuu March 16, 2014 - 5:01 AM

Oh dear, this post is a reflection of my stress days! I wish I had a solution to offer, but I don’t T_T Some people just need a bit more time to work on things, try not to compare yourself with others. (btw, you have really pretty handwriting). Good luck on all your exams!

AnneMarie March 18, 2014 - 11:29 AM

I’m totally in the same boat. I do this to myself partially because deep down, I believe that I work better when I know I don’t have much time. Like the stress of it all helps me motivate to get it done. But at the same time, I know it makes my work not as awesome.

I usually write to-do lists and prioritize them. And then often, I talk out what I need to do with a friend while we’re studying together so then can call me out if they see me off-task.

I hope school hasn’t been too hard on you the past few weeks since you wrote this post! If you’re in the middle of finals, good luck! It’s finals week for me but things haven’t been too crazy this quarter. I just need to finish my final tonight. 😛

Veronica March 23, 2014 - 7:38 AM

I’m not good at managing my stress, either. I worry about almost everything, as it sounds like you do too. I mean, it’s normal to worry a little bit about things, just so that you stay ambitious and on top of your game, but you should relax a little! I know that there’s always a lot to do, so you feel overwhelmed. Just take one thing at a time and try not to think of everything else you could/should be doing. Focus on your current task and just know that you’re doing your best.

Penda March 27, 2014 - 7:43 PM

I’m good at stress-management. I find it easy, actually. I just drop everything and watch my favorite sitcom Castle or blog or visit others’ blogs. I’m good at this because I’m actually quite carefree, figuring I’ll just deal with the consequences later (they’re not always forgiving but I’d rather gamble than die of hypertension). If you’re quite uptight, this wouldn’t do you any good since the first step to de-stressing is to drop everything and breathe.

I don’t have any good advice to offer you but to live life one second at a time. All of us are given 24 hours a day so we can’t say we don’t have time. It’s a matter of prioritizing. Do you prioritize your self?


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