Managing Stress

Wen Wen / 1st years, Manawatū campusLeave a Comment

2 semesters = 2 years

This is what it felt like to me anyway. When the heck did time slip through my fingers so quickly?! The fast pace of uni is something that’ll still need some getting used to, but nonetheless, it’s one thing that makes uni as interesting as it is.

Having to learn tons of material in a short amount of time really forces you to study, and once you actually study instead of procrastinate and start watching the third season of a certain volleyball anime, you begin to understand stuff. And once you begin understand stuff, you won’t be saying “I hate chemistry/ physics/ maths/ [insert other stereotypically difficult subjects here]” anymore.


Your buddies rivals Stress and Procrastination

In uni, you will often find yourself in the company of Stress and Procrastination, which I guess you can liken to the devil and angel on your shoulders.


Stress would be the shoulder devil, constantly nagging you and reminding you of all the lectures you’re behind in, the pre-labs that you have yet to do, and the assignments that you haven’t started. Procrastination, on the other hand, would be like the shoulder angel, telling you to take some time off and that all the things Stress is telling you to do can be done later. Neither Stress nor Procrastination are actually good, but in terms of preserving your health, I would lean more towards Procrastination.

Not that I’m saying we should all go and procrastinate. No. We don’t do that. However, I think that it’s still important to take care of your physical and mental health. When we’re stressed we feel overwhelmed, unconfident, headaches, and loss of appetite. Sometimes stress can build up to the point where the only way of relieving it is to cry, and this is not the most ideal way to spend your uni life.


One thing that I heard from a lecturer recently…

“Pray if you’re a prayer; meditate if you’re a meditator; go for a run if that helps to calm you down.”

Find something that works to keep yourself calm. For me, if I feel stress beginning to bubble up while I am at home, what I do is walk myself to the refrigerator (some exercise works magic), pull out a dark chocolate Tim Tam, and give myself a minute to crunch down on it and imagine that my imaginary depleted battery is being recharged. Whether it’s the sugar rush or the fact that I’ve read so many things about dark chocolate being a stress reliever, I always feel more calm after a Tim Tam. Listening to some upbeat/lively music for a few minutes also works wonders. Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” is perfect for de-stressing.

Time is money

But of course, we mustn’t neglect our study. Let’s say that a science course you’re taking in one semester has 32 lectures (this differs a bit depending on the paper), and the paper costs $812.80. This means that you’ll be paying $25.40 per hour, and that’s like 40 cents per minute, if my maths is right. What you want to do is pass this paper, preferably with a good grade, since you’re already paying this much. And in order to do that, one needs to have short-term and long-term goals to serve as encouragement.

Short-term goals may be things like:

  • Studying for 40 minutes, then rewarding yourself with 10-15 minutes of free time.
  • Always start studying at least a week before a test (2 weeks minimum if it’s the final exam).
  • Reading all pre-readings before the next lecture.

Long-term goals could include:

  • Aiming for 50% on an upcoming test.
  • Getting a B or higher at the end of a course.
  • And graduating and receiving your degree.


Hopefully a few of these tips will be of use for the exams just around the corner, both uni and NCEA. By studying just a little bit harder and a bit more effectively (without the tears), you’re bringing yourself one step closer to your dream.

Thank you for reading to the end, and I hope that I’ve been able to give you some handy tips, as well as paint a picture of what uni life could be like in your first year. Things will never be completely easy and smooth sailing – expect the little bumps and unexpected turns (both the good and bad). But also keep this in mind: Uni is one big adventure in which study is highly recommended, procrastination is a frequent travel buddy, and there is always enough time for doing things that you love.


P.S. An adorable form of encouragement for those who need to get assignments done.



Hi, everyone, my name's Wen! I’m from Malaysia, and I moved to New Zealand when I was four, along with my parents and younger brother. I love music (from pop, to rock, to classical), drawing, and just about every kind of animal there is. Like many of you reading this blog, 2016 marks my first year in university! In Semester 1, I was enrolled in pre-vet, however, I didn't make it in. This semester, I'm doing a Bachelor of Science, double majoring in Genetics and Microbiology. It's been an interesting year so far and I'm sure it'll continue to be one! I always like to look on the bright side of things, and with that outlook I hope I’ll be able to share my experiences of uni life, as a first year, with you all!

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