The Burden of Busyness in First Year

Strategies to Overcome Stress

Entering university is an extremely exciting yet daunting time in a student’s life. It is a time of both beginning and ending as high school is left behind. We will all form new friendships, learn new skills, and create new memories. However, university also brings unique stresses and pressures for each student, particularly first-years who are in a completely new environment. Deadlines, tests, due dates, readings, homework, and the demand for better performance can be overwhelming. The pressures that university students carry are difficult to manage without a plan, and affect every student differently.

During my first month at Redeemer, I can verify the high stresses that we each have to deal with. Deadlines ominously creep up on you while you are least expecting them. Three weeks can feel like an eternity until you have two tests and an assignment due the next day. This article itself, in discussing the stress of university students, caused me significant and ironic stress when I almost missed the submission deadline! After discussing stress and workload with other first year students it became clear how universal this struggle is. Some students said they felt very stressed and overwhelmed. When asked to explain their stress level, answers ranged from “very” to an 8 out of 10.  Others said the sheer number of tests and assignments due down the road was stress inducing. With all of the distractions and opportunities universities offer to procrastinate, stresses can build until they tower the night before a deadline. I know that I greatly related to my classmates’ answers, and I assume that you can all relate as well. Frankly, anyone who claims they are unphased by the stress of university is either a genius or simply hiding how they truly feel. 

Now, although the tone of this article has been rather depressing thus far, it should be noted that there are many methods students can use to combat stress. For example, after talking with Anika Fitzpatrick, said she would schedule her time and would sometimes stay away from her dorm to prevent distractions. Vince Olivo suggested taking full advantage of the resources the professors provide such as notes or powerpoint slides, as they are the ones giving us the tests and assignments. Vince also added that all students should pay attention in class and become better note-takers, which will make studying much easier. The final first-year I interviewed was Diego Rivas. He said that to reduce stress, he just refused to focus or worry about his assignments. My personal advice to help others avoid stress would be to give yourself start dates for assignments or tests. Look through your course syllabus and plan out when to begin a project or start studying. Even if you do not have the time to start a project a week in advance, simply writing it down will remind your brain of the deadline and help you start earlier than the night before. 

Finally, as Christians, we can also rely on God to give us peace as we work through our problems. Unlike us, God is not worried about deadlines or tests, and He does not want you to worry either. Isaiah 26:3 states: “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” This verse demonstrates God’s provisions in our lives and how if we focus and trust in Him, He will grant us peace. John 14:27 also highlights this when it says: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you… Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Oftentimes, even as Christians, it can be very tempting to look at our situation, inhale once, and spontaneously panic; however, God reminds us that He is our source of peace and our solution to fear.

In summary, while university can be a daunting experience for freshmen, there are many resources we have as Redeemer students to help. Our professors are one of the most important resources we as students can use. I have already taken advantage of my business professors’ willingness to meet to discuss a problem I was experiencing with an assignment. I would encourage all of my fellow students to email professors if they are having difficulty in the class because they actually care and want you to succeed. Lastly, I would like to advise all of you to stop reading this and do your homework!