• Shanne Gan

Destressing 101: Coping with Submissions, Tests, and Exams


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It’s Week 10 of the academic year. Submissions are piling up, tests and quizzes are constantly popping up, and finals are approaching. It seems like there is no end to this constant studying and preparation, and you hardly have any time set aside for a rest day.

Apart from academics, there are other things to stress about, such as securing an internship for the upcoming summer break. Your head hurts, you’re losing sleep, but you need to stay awake because there just aren’t enough hours in a day to complete everything you need to do.


Sound familiar? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Yes, the all-too-familiar finals’ season that university students dread the most has finally reared its ugly head.

It may seem impossible, but there are a few ways to manage your stress during this final countdown. Read on to find out some tried and tested tips and tricks for staying sane during the hell weeks of university.


Stay Organized

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Personally, I feel that this is the most important way to stay sane not just during finals’ season, but throughout the semester. Whether or not you prefer using a physical planner or an online calendar, it is extremely helpful to have something to refer to when you want to schedule your time.


Noting down all the important deadlines and events allows you to plan ahead, which is imperative when there are weeks with multiple submissions and tests. For example, having foreseen that I would be extremely busy in a particular week, I would have set aside time in the earlier weeks to finish up an assignment due later in order to take something off my plate.


If you're looking for examples of online tools for organisation, www.notion.so is a platform that I highly recommend. It allows you to take down notes, list out your tasks, and so much more!


You can never go wrong if you make good use of the time you have.


Talk to Your Friends

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You are not the only one in this predicament – your other friends in university are going through the exact same thing! There is no one better to talk to than your friends who understand and can relate to whatever you are going through.

If you’re feeling stressed out, text a friend or hop on Zoom for a short video call. I assure you - you will feel ten times better after a chat with your close friends. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up!


Move Your Body

Image Source: The Cleveland Clinic


I know, I know – there’s hardly enough time to study for everything, how can I possibly set aside time for exercising? Trust me, it is possible. It can be anything – a quick stretch, a short jog around the neighborhood, or lifting some weights at the gym. Nothing beats the rush of endorphins after a good sweat. Your mind will be clearer, you’ll feel lighter, and you’ll be refreshed and energized for the next round of studying.


It doesn’t matter what time you workout – do whatever fits your schedule. I promise that it will make your study sessions more productive.


Get Enough Sleep

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I am well aware that this tip is one many choose to ignore. It’s a well-known fact that many university students survive on coffee – myself included. However, getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night really does wonders. If you don’t believe me, try it out for a few days.


Surviving on a few nights of sleep makes you sleepy and unable to concentrate. Caffeine may do the trick, but only for a few hours before you begin to crash. Furthermore, too much caffeine may increase your cortisol levels – making you feel more stressed and anxious than you were before.


If you really are unable to find time for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, try taking short power naps instead!


Lessen Your Screen Time

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You’re probably spending more time than usual on your laptops and tablets during this busy period, so why not try to cut down on your screen time by spending less time on your phone during breaks? Go out for a walk, read a book, or bake something in the kitchen.


Too much exposure to blue light from electronic devices negatively affects your sleep as well as your ability to concentrate. Not just that, it also causes eye strain that could be damaging in the long run.


If you’re someone who is always glued to your devices, set a time limit.



It’s important to remind yourself that this stressful period won’t last forever, and that your mental health always comes first. Remember to take the time to rest whenever you need a break. With that, good luck for your finals! I hope these tips and tricks will come in handy for the upcoming weeks.

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