During my days as a uni student, I used to get so hooked on immersing myself in a Netflix series (even the boring ones) I wouldn’t knuckle down into that 2000-word assignment that was due in a week … it was unreal. I would come home from a tute and … BAM! I was deep into watching the fourth season of Gossip Girl … *coughs*… I mean Game of Thrones for the third time. Of course, my friends were always wanting to hang out too and, well, with the snap of my fingers my responsibilities were thrown out the window and off I would go on my merry way (I have extreme #FOMO). Other times, I would spend my time obsessing about some new gym craze I wanted to get into (#gains) or how I needed to rack up more hours at work so I could afford to book that hiking trek through Alberta (Canada’s a good time, if you’re wondering). If it isn’t already obvious, it is safe to say my priorities weren’t really in check while I was at uni.
Looking back, it’s easy to see my priorities were out of balance and I could have avoided such high-stress levels if I had actually used regular study time more productively and to my advantage. In the grand scheme of things, my uni days went by rather quickly and although I was really happy with what I achieved, I think back to how I could have bettered my study game to ensure ultimate success. I can confidently say I’d probably do things a little differently if I had the chance to and save myself from so much stress in the process. If I could in true Cher style, ‘turn back time’ to realign my priorities and focus on my study, this is the advice I would give myself:
You’ll always have time to go to the gym, go on that holiday or whatever hero move you think is so important to do instead of getting the study done! I know this is drilled into student life as the biggest no-no, but not only is it time-wasting, it can cause you unwanted stress down the track – seriously! Clinical Psychologist and former psychology professor Dr. Bill Knaus says, ‘When distracted by stresses, you are likely to put more things off and suffer from a procrastination accumulation effect. This is where you feel stressed, put things off, and then feel stressed thinking about what you’ve left undone’ (Psychology Today, 2019). Couldn’t of said it better myself. Social Hub has so many resources to help you get out of the procrastination trap and get your mind back on those study tracks.
You’re at uni because you want to learn new skills and to better your career prospects, so making study a priority while you are there is pretty logical. Start by asking yourself what you could be doing better when it comes to studying, then make it a reality. For example, take the time to really understand the task for your assignment, or the course material you need to study for your exam. Allowing a little extra time to fully dissect the assignment or what you think will be on the exam is a great way of calming the ‘before you hit submit’ jitters. If you need help finding discipline to stay in tune with your study, check out USQ’s Spotify playlists and the incredible range of printables on Social Hub that can help you stay on track during the semester and remind you of what’s really important!
Once you’ve got your priorities worked out (i.e. uni work, family time, work commitments), you should have a clearer understanding of how to better manage your time in order to achieve your study goals. For example, if I had made sure my uni work came before the newest episode of a Netflix series, attending a social gathering, a new gym craze, or going on an overseas holiday, I would have dedicated more time in the lead up to due dates and exam days for studying and avoided the last-minute rush to get things done that caused me to feel so stressed. If you think you could still use some help utilising your time to the best of your ability to make sure those priority study tasks get done, check out Social Hub’s Time Management eBook!
By following these three tips, you should be able to consistently and methodically focus on your study and avoid the unnecessary stress! My advice? If you want to enjoy your best, less-stressed uni life, take note of your bad study habits and give them the flick. So, the next time you go to have a little Netflix session, or your study-avoiding go-to, make sure that you’ve completed everything you need to do for your studies before treating yourself.
If you feel as though you do have these three strategies down pat, yet are still having trouble managing your stress levels, visit the Health and Wellness Team for more stress management resources and counselling during your studies.