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Managing Academic Stress

Sources of academic stress include:

  • leaving home and structuring time on your own
  • commuting to school
  • living with a roommate and negotiating differences
  • managing the increase in expectations for academic functioning
  • handling personal problems while keeping up with school work
  • having less structure in life and no one to offer guidance
  • dealing with multiple priorities - like getting school work done, socializing, working, meeting family demands and getting good grades
  • meeting the expectations of parents, faculty, friends and your own expectations for doing well
  • not having enough time to get everything done and
  • perhaps not having learned effective study skills and habits prior to coming to college

Coping Strategies:

Ways of coping can be immediate and short-term, or they can be long-term.

Some short-term ways of coping are:

  • Take a break when you need one
  • Take some deep breaths and slow down
  • Relax your body by stretching your muscles
  • Take a mental break by using visual imagery
  • Keep your sense of perspective by asking yourself: Is this really worth getting upset about?
  • Use coping statements like:
    • "I can only do the best I can do."
    • "I refuse to get stressed out about this."
    • "This is not the end of the world."
    • "I'll try to do better next time."
    • "I know that I can't be perfect, and I don't expect myself to be."

Some long-term coping strategies are:

  • learning time management skills and using a daily planner
  • learning how to get organized
  • learning good study skills
  • exercising
  • getting enough rest
  • eating well and nutritiously so your body has the energy it needs
  • having a good support network
  • avoiding drug and alcohol abuse, because you are only creating a new set of problems
  • setting your own goals and priorities and living by them
  • not trying to please others and live up to their expectations
  • giving up having to be perfect
  • learning how to think rationally and optimistically
  • using the excellent resources available on campus as soon as you begin to experience academic difficulty

Resources at Iona College:

Samuel Rudin Academic Resource Center (914) 633-2217
Counseling Center (914) 633-2038
Resident Assistants (914) 633-2336
Office of Student Success (914) 633-2270