I look at my to-do list, and it is a mile long and I have a midterm to study for, two articles to write, a five page paper to write, and sixty pages of reading to do. I’m over caffeinated, overtired, and I feel like I have no time to do anything I need to do.
We all know this feeling, of being completely overwhelmed by all of the things that we have to do. Sometimes, we can use this feeling as a great motivator, and other times, our anxiety consumes us, and we shut down.
Feelings of anxiety and depression are common amongst college students. According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is the top presenting concern amongst college students, followed by depression and relationship problems.
Despite this, there are many different ways that we can fight our anxiety and conquer our to-do lists. One thing that I always do when I feel overwhelmed and stressed-out is I make a to-do list, and then I prioritize this list, I put the most important thing that I need to do now on the top of the list, and the least important thing that I need to do, something that I can do later, on the bottom.
After I make my list, I complete the task that I have to do first, but I completely focus on this task, and not on everything that I still have to do. I tell myself, “right now, I only need to do this.” And then I move on to the next task, and so on, until my to-do list is complete.
Sometimes, you just need to take some time out of your busy schedule to relax. Sometimes, you just need a break, and that is okay. Whether it is going for a run every day, meditating for an hour a day, or taking a hot bubble bath, there are many ways that you can melt your anxiety away after a long day.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: getting enough sleep is ridiculously important. If it is 3 in the morning and you’re still studying for that exam you have at 8 in the morning, go to sleep. Feeling overtired can make you cranky, but more importantly it can raise your anxiety levels further.
Often, we feel anxious about school–about the tests and papers we have to write, and how to balance a busy academic schedule with perhaps outside part-time jobs, a social life, family life, and so on.
If you are anxious about that exam you are studying for, the first thing that you can do (I know, it is so easy to say and so hard to do sometimes) is prepare in advance for it. Do not study the day before, but the week before.
Communicating with your professor about this anxiety that you have about a certain assessment can be incredibly helpful. By talking to your professor about how you can tackle this task, you can feel less anxious and more ready to complete it successfully.
Last but certainly not least, if you feel that your anxiety is out of control, that it is something that is controlling your life, seek professional help. There is a counseling center right in Weygand Hall (it is part of Health Services) that offers free services to all students. This center provides help with stress management, anxiety management, depression management, homesickness, academic problems, and so on.
We all feel anxious and overwhelmed at times, but our anxieties should not take over our lives. By prioritizing your to-do list, taking the time to relax and unwind after a long day, and/or by talking to your professor(s) about your academic anxieties, you can feel a little less anxious and a little more ready to take on the world.
Ceilidh Adams is the Opinion Editor for The Comment. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.