How To: Manage Stress in University // 5 Tips

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I've wanted to sit down and write this kind of post for a while now, but I wasn't sure who would be interested in reading it. Personally, I love reading posts are completely unrelated to a blogger's usual posts. This is unlike anything I have written before, so I apologize in advance if it's rubbish.

I have 11 days of class left and I really can't believe it. My last day of class is April 10th, and then I dive into exams. So far, I only have three classes that have exams in exam week, so that's a bonus. Then I have about a month off until I graduate on June 5.

For those of you who don't know, I am currently majoring in Criminology, and I finished my minor of Forensic Psychology in the Fall semester. I love Criminology, and, for the most part, my University experience has been pretty good.

 In 2011 I graduated from high school, and decided too take six months off. I started College in January 2012 and since it was a fast-tracked program, I graduated with my Diploma in June 2013. In the summer of June 2013, I started University and did what is called a "bridge" program. Essentially, what this is, is the University requires you to take an allotted amount of courses to see how well you will do. If you pass these bridge courses with a certain average, you then enter your third year of University, which is what I did in September 2013. I am now in my fourth year, and can't wait to be done. As it stands for the moment, I will be graduating in June with a Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminology.

 I am in no means an expert on how to handle University, but I figured that I would share with you some things I wish I knew when I first started out.

1) It's okay to procrastinate.
This sounds silly, but, I think it's incredibly important during stressful times to allow yourself the chance to take a breather. I think that you learn very quickly how much time you can actually allow yourself to procrastinate.

2) If you don't think you can do that hard class, sign up for it anyways.
There were many classes in University that I did not think I could manage. When I was entering my fourth year, I had to make a decision whether or not I was going to do an undergraduate honours thesis. The thought of writing a 40-50 page paper is terrifying, and ultimately discouraging. The supervisor that I have for it encouraged me to go for it even if I had an inkling to do it, so I decided to take the plunge and do it. I am so so happy that I did. It has been an amazing experience, and it looks amazing on your resume.

3) Take Summer classes, yes, summer classes.
This sounds awful, and when I first started in College and found out I had to take summer classes (because it was fast-tracked) I was so upset. However, I have gone to school every summer now since and I love summer classes. For starters, instead of being 14 weeks, they are typically 7 weeks. This is great, especially for those core classes that you have to take but know you're going to hate. Also, taking summer courses allowed me to graduate much sooner, in less than four years of schooling I will have my College Diploma and my University Degree. Typically, in Canada it takes four years to get a degree.  

4) Take notes.
I try and take extremely detailed notes, especially in classes that have tests. When I think about actually going to class and paying attention to a three hour lecture, it seems like a drag. But, you just have to remind yourself that in the long run it will be worth it. I started off this year thinking that it was going to go by so slow, but Fall semester went by extremely fast, and so far this semester is going by even faster. Also, your notes can help out others. For the majority of my classes I am a note-taker. This is something offered by most post secondary schools, in Canada, and it allows students to sign up through student learning to receive notes. I think for most students, they sign up for it because they want to be able to pay attention to the Professor, not typing. My role in it is, I take detailed notes and post them online so students are able to receive notes. This not only looks good on a resume, but it also makes me show up for class.

5) Break your time up.
Usually, if I sit down to write a paper I try and make little goals. Usually what this means is that I'll write anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, and then I'll check Instagram, or if I'm really procrastinating, I'll write for 45 minutes and then watch 15 minutes of a TV show, which is usually Grey's Anatomy. I personally find that if I leave a project for a little bit, I can think of new topics or ideas for whatever it is I am writing.

Hopefully this can help you if you're in school and you are finding yourself stressed out. Let me know what you do to manage stress, even if you're not in school !

Thank you so much for reading, and happy Spring Break to those of you who get that :)

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