Cracking under stress

Dealing with the hectic lifestyle of a student

By Sarine Gulerian

Topgold / Flickr

You have a midterm at nine in the morning tomorrow, but you’re in school until 2 p.m. and you’re working an eight hour shift until midnight tonight.

The only logical solution to this classic time-crunch dilemma is to pull the notorious, all-nighter.

This means you’ll attempt to stay up all night and cram your two months worth of notes into just 8 hours of studying.

With the help of Red Bull and five-minute powernaps you might be able to do it.

Suddenly, your 8 a.m. alarm starts to ring during your first powernap.

You realize your nap turned into a seven- hour slumber and your exam starts in one hour.

School is overwhelming, your part-time job won’t cover your bills and your social life is non-existent.

Welcome to the life of a student.

What do you do when it feels like 24 hours have compressed into 12 and you’re running out of time?

“Get organized, be on top of things and have some priorities,” says Renu Seru, a counsellor at the Surrey campus at Kwantlen Polytechnic University who has 19 years of experience at this school.

“Keep anxiety low, if anxiety is high, it becomes the source of the stress,” she says.

Seru suggests that students need to avoid thinking about things they have no control over and instead focus on how they can change their attitude towards a situation.

According to Seru, lack of organization skills, procrastination and bad time management are the three biggest mistakes students make.

She recommended that students have a semester calendar, a weekly planner (which you can get for free at any KSA office) and a daily to-do list.

Michael Ringland, a second-year psychology student, admits to bad time management skills. “I try to get it all done the day before,” he says, “but I try to disperse it as much as possible throughout the day so I’ll try to do a little bit of everything.”

Ringland manages his time by making to-do lists just to keep up with three classes, working full-time and rehearsing for a play, at Surrey Little Theater, 4 days a week.

“I make myself a to-do list every night so I know exactly what I’m doing the next day. I don’t make timelines or write in journals because then I’ll procrastinate,” he says.

Procrastination is another big issue students face. Seru pointed out that Facebook and video games are the worst distractions for students while studying.

She said that the recommended studying time for students is two hours at home per one hour in class, in other words you should be studying double your lecture time.

Lack of sleep is another issue that adds to the stress of a student.

“Sleep is important,” said Seru. Students should get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep per night, depending on their body.

But don’t worry. Kwantlen has various resources for students to take advantage of when stressed or unsure of the future.

All four campuses have at least one counsellor. The Richmond campus has three and Surrey has four.

Each campus has a counseling office located in the building, which has a wall full of handouts with tips on managing time, procrastination and stress.

You can book an appointment with a counsellor either at your campus or online using the Kwantlen website.

They also offer counseling and career seminars about how to deal with stress, time management, presentation and anxiety. All seminars are free and are held at the Surrey Campus.