Tag Archives: exam stress

UC Student Blogger | Mental and physical wellbeing tips during the exam season

Believe it or not, we’re now in October which means that we’re creeping closer towards exam season. I know I’m not the only student who reaches this stage of the semester and forgets about anything outside of getting those last assignments in and studying for exams.

However, during exam season it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re looking after yourself mentally and physically so you’re feeling your best in this stressful time (and not like your brain is about to explode). Not fitting in the little things that improve your life around your study schedule means you run the risk of burning out. So, here’s a few suggestions to help you find that balance, so you can have a super productive and healthy exam season.

Remember to give your brain a break

Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty for taking a break because I definitely have. As hard as it can be sometimes to take a break, giving your brain rest is SO important for your wellbeing. The Wellbeing Hub has some great advice and can support your needs from helping to support your study, mental wellbeing, health and fitness as well as all of the great support services on offer to students.

Fit in the things that help you relax

Getting your eyes away from your lecture notes and textbooks and doing something you love during the exam season is so beneficial. This could be anything from playing sport, doing yoga, going for a walk or making the most of the UC RecCentre which is free for UC students and has something for everyone. Hanging out with your mates, reading a book for fun or maybe even just catching up on a bit of sleep can be hugely helpful as well.

Look out for your mates

Your friends are probably feeling the stress of exam season just as much as you are so make sure they’re doing okay. Resources like Student Care are always there if you or a friend are struggling and want to talk to someone that can help.

Managing fears of failure: Tips from a UC Mentor

With exams approaching and preparation in full-swing, it’s normal to experience fears of failing. When your studies are important to you, being worried about failing is natural and something that many people experience.

A UC Mentor has shared their thoughts, tips and advice on dealing with those fears to help you stay focused, keep striving and doing your best.

“”Final exams are not very far away, you’re well prepared and even wearing that lucky sweater, but still feel anxious and start imagining all the terrible consequences that could happen if you fail to achieve your goals…”

Does this scenario sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Fear of failure is part of the human nature. In fact, fear is associated with stress, moderating fear could sufficiently motivate you to do better, but too much of it could easily cause problems. Today I would love to share with you how to face failure and minimize the negative impacts based on my personal experiences.

Redefine failure

It is important to be clear about what is your definition of failure. For me, I am a big believer in the power of keep trying as excellence is not being the best but doing your best. For example, in my definition, failure is defined by giving up easily. So the sense of success comes from my inner motivation and the processes of improving. This way will actually make me feel better and achieve more than I expected. So why don’t you try this? Instead of saying “I am not reaching my goals”, try “I may not have achieved my goal, but I am getting closer to it.”

Keep it in mind, failures are never personal, they inform you where you are at and the discrepancies between what you expect to achieve and what you might achieve.

Some people avoid failure, some defeat it

Another simple way to help you to conquer the fear is to face it. The key is to keep positive about the outcome. For example, instead of saying “I don’t want to fail this course” try “I am gonna pass this course”. Psychologically, positive outcomes are associated with more organized approaches to goal pursuit, higher engagement, more self-determination, and less anxiety. Besides, try to figure out which of these potential consequences of failure scare you the most, and ask yourself: How much impact will they have on you? And how well can you handle it? Often reflecting on potential outcomes will help you to realise that even the worst-case scenario won’t be *that* bad!

The art of Mind-set

It is also noteworthy to mention the idea of mind-set. Your mindset determines the way you perceive this world and how you react. A growth mindset will help you to “fail” well and overcome the fear faster. Have a read here: https://uccareers.careercentre.me/elearning/scorm.aspx?CourseId=9FxKgOodAnDoooevUkNeww==  if you want to learn more about it.

Is the fear still bothering you? Maybe it is time to talk about what you are experiencing.

UC is a supportive community – you can reach out to UC Mentors ( https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/get-support/new/mentoring-programmes/), student advisors (https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/needtotalk/student-care/), your lecturers and professors to let them know your concerns. They will try their best to help you. It is also a good idea to identify those already in your circle that you trust to express your feelings with, like family and friends.

Plato said life must be lived as play. Don’t be too harsh to yourself. The fear of failure belongs to the anxiety about the unknown, which can only affect you at this present moment. So it is time to stop worrying and start believing, believing in yourself, you are capable and all the efforts will be paid off. Most importantly, failure is not a destination or a personal judgment, but an opportunity for you to improve and succeed.”

For more information around fear of failure, read more> 

Mel Liu, UC Mentor, Final year student, Major in Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Management and Psychology

Tips from a UC Mentor: celebrate small wins to help manage exam stress

As we head into the break, one of our UC Mentors has put together some of their top tips to help you feel focused, well and prepared for upcoming exams.

As students, we are all learning to manage stress – from balancing our studies to social lives to work schedules. Regardless, we continue to push ourselves to achieve our goals.

For some, the goal is to finish off the semester with straight A’s, while for others it’s about simply making it through the exam season without burning out.

Wherever you find yourself on this spectrum, the best way to help manage your stress is finding balance. While it is important to focus on your studies and prepare yourself the best you can for your assessments, it is equally important to reward yourself for the small successes!

Spend an hour reviewing notes and then take 15 minutes to have a cup of tea and listen to music. Plan out your study for the day but save room to bake some cookies or go to the gym. If you’re studying on campus, take a break and grab a coffee with a friend! Give yourself time to rest because having something to look forward to each day will save you from burning out.

My ideal, balanced study day starts off with a good breakfast and coffee, followed by sitting down and planning exactly what I want to achieve for the day. Personally, I am more productive in the morning/earlier in the day so I always aim to finish up with my study by 5pm. For my breaks I like to play music or watch an episode on TV and try to do some level of physical activity every day – whether that is going to the gym or just some quick home yoga!

Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, UC has lots of support services available including Student Care and the Academic Skills Centre. A great place to start is checking out: https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/. If you feel like a peer student Mentor would help moving forward then check out UC’s mentoring programmes:  https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/support/get-support/new/mentoring-programmes/.

Keep working hard, talking to your friends, and celebrating the small victories, because we are all in the same boat and are here to support each other. Good luck and look after yourselves!”

Ella Guillemot-Mene,
2nd Year Student, Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership & UC Student Mentor