Dear Ethel | Issue 8

Dear Ethel | Issue 8

Fresher stress

Dear Ethel,

I’m a fresher and finding uni so hard! I thought it was going to be a breeze but it’s not. I’ve got assessment after assessment between now and exams. I’m so stressed. I don’t feel like eating, I can’t sleep and I keep picking fights with my boyfriend and then feel crap about it afterward. Should I even be at uni?
-Uni Or Not Uni

Dear Uni or Not Uni,

University is hard work for most of us! So don’t beat yourself up. It’s very different to high school and it can take a while to get into step with a new environment, as well as new learning and assessment expectations. You’ve only been here for one-and-a-half months, so nobody expects you to be all over it! 

Looking after your mental wellbeing by reducing your stress levels takes a little bit of work but it’s worth it. It’s like being physically fit: you can build ‘mental muscle’ to help reduce the impact of day-to-day stressors. 

One little thing that may help is to think of three things that you’ve been grateful for that day. It might be that your boyfriend made you dinner, it was a gorgeous sunny day (make the most of those in Dunners!), and you learnt something fascinating. No matter what other stuff is going on, focusing on positive things in the present can help reduce the sense of being overwhelmed and stressed.

For academic stress, have a look at My Otago First Year They’ve got practical tips on study and success strategies. Make realistic, achievable daily and weekly goals. Being able to see what needs to be done, and by when, will help reduce stress. 

Do something that makes you feel good every week, whether that’s sports, a massage, popcorn and movie night with friends – whatever. Even though you don’t feel like eating, make it a priority to eat delish, healthy food. Within these very Critic pages you may find some culinary inspiration! Ease up on the coffee and alcohol too as both of those will have a direct impact on your ability to get a good night’s sleep. 

If you want to talk to a real person who’s experienced some of the stuff you’re going through, feel free to drop into 5 Ethel Benjamin Place to have a chat with a friendly advocate. 

Whole lotta love, 

Ethel  xox

This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2016.
Posted 12:12pm Sunday 24th April 2016 by Student Support.