Dealing With Academic Pressure

Asian student writing and thinkingAcademic pressure is something that we all deal with. Ever since I was 14, I have known that I wanted to go to a good college and become a doctor. Sometimes the pressure to succeed seems overwhelming. Many teens feel the same pressure. Getting into college often means participating in extracurricular activities and achieving and maintaining a high GPA. That can bring a lot of pressure and stress into one’s life. I have felt it and still do, even though I am not in high school anymore.

Finals are something that I have always dreaded, ever since my first year in college. However, I have found a way to reduce my stress. Everyone knows that towards the end of the semester, the work is overloaded, and that’s when students start to procrastinate. When you know you have a 10 page paper to write, 100 pages to read, and 2 exams to study for, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram sound much more fun. But those kinds of activities can waste a lot of time. The best way to be successful is to start studying and working on your assignments early on. Pulling all-nighters is not the way to earn an A! When I feel stressed or have studied for too long, I will go on a walk with my dog, or go to the gym for a bit to get my mind off of my work.

It’s also tempting to hit up the convenience store and buy a Monster and sugary snacks or junk food when you are stressed, but these are poor choices. If you eat nutritious meals and snacks, your energy and concentration increases. Staying hydrated is also important, especially when you are drinking lots of caffeine.

One final, important step is getting a good night sleep. Sleep may not seem like a high priority, but it is probably one of the most important steps to success. Sleep is the best way to retain the material that you have studied. When I used to pull all-nighters before a big exam or a presentation in order to prepare, my reaction time became slower and I had difficulty recalling information that I had studied, so I became more stressed. I have learned from my psychology classes that this is because your body raises your cortisol levels (also known as the stress hormone) when you don’t get enough sleep. This can also lead to weight gain!

My best recommendations for doing well on finals and keeping your stress levels down are to stay active, eat well, get plenty of rest, and make sure to take breaks in order to refresh yourself. Academic pressure is something we all experience in middle school, high school, college, and beyond. But the important thing is to take a deep breath and relax, and know that you will make it through and succeed.