Mojza Blog

Dealing with academic stress

by zunaira faisal | 13 nov 2022

Do you catch yourself worrying about your upcoming exams for hours on end? Do you get overwhelmed with test anxiety? Do you hold such high expectations for yourself that you have a constant fear of ending up being disappointed  with your results? Do you procrastinate so much that you end up cramming for your tests the night before? 

Well, you aren’t alone then.

What is Academic Stress?

Academic stress is formally defined as ‘an experience in which a student is burdened by the demands of time and energy to achieve specific academic goals. From a very young age, students are encouraged to think ahead and look forward to certain academic milestones. However, the cyclical pattern of continuously anticipating the next step in academia can be quite damaging. 

What are the reasons behind Academic Stress?

Academic pressure may come from high family expectations, the ambitious goals students set for themselves, and the demands placed on them by society at large. 

Some other reasons for feeling burdened academically may be: 

Lack of Organisation

Students with poor organizational skills tend to experience more stress in their studies. This is usually because they aren’t properly prepared with the tools necessary for learning and understanding each subject. If these skills do not improve with time, the student may fall behind in studies and increase their stress.

Little to no ‘Me-Time’

Students with busy schedules often forget to organize their day in a manner that allows them to get enough time to relax. Because of this, they can become overwhelmed by the extreme pressure they face academically, and no time to relieve themselves of it. In conclusion, it is of utter importance that students incorporate activities they enjoy doing into their daily schedule too, in order to keep from getting too stressed out.

Poor Sleep Schedule

Many students have the detrimental habit of staying up late into the night to catch up on assignments or study for an exam. Pulling all-nighters becomes second nature and a completely normal habit to most teenagers. However, not getting enough sleep can deteriorate your concentration in classes and reduce your ability to retain information during them. Several studies have shown that students who don’t get enough sleep every night are more likely to feel stressed than students who get enough sleep. 

Lack of Support

Lack of support from parents and teachers, even if it’s only perceived, can add to a lot of stress for students. They may feel that a lot is expected from them and that they don’t have a support system, whether emotional or practical, to achieve their goals. This is very common among students, especially high-achieving ones. 

What are some signs of Academic Stress among students?

  • Obsession with grades
  • Anxiety
  • Extreme competitiveness
  • Change in appetite
  • Constant working
  • Abusing stimulants (eg. coffee, prescription medicines, etc.)
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Inability to relax
  • Social Isolation

How to deal with it

Academic stress, if not dealt with correctly, can lead to severe consequences, such as depression, anxiety, and possible substance abuse such as drugs, etc. 

Here are some ways to deal with, and possibly reduce, your academic stress. 

Create a Reward System

Giving yourself incentives to complete daunting academic tasks can help when your motivation is running low. Set up a system of rewards so that you can look forward to finishing a set of tasks. For instance, treat yourself to a chocolate bar once you read 10 pages of your textbook or you complete 5 math questions. This little burst of serotonin will encourage you to keep working and help you look forward to finishing your tasks. 

Budget Your TIme

Plan out your day, minute by minute, daily. With a clear plan for the day, you will feel more in control which can reduce anxiety and help you stay on track with your studies. When making a to-do list or schedule for the day, organize your tasks into categories of what is urgent and what can wait. Then, tackle your most urgent, high-priority tasks first, tasks that are important but not urgent next, and then the tasks that can wait after you’re done with the urgent and important tasks. This may assist you in organizing your time more efficiently, and meet deadlines without having to go through the stress of it.

Take Responsibility

When you make a mistake, take responsibility for it. If you forget to submit an assignment on time, acknowledge your mistake and then take action. Make sure not to repeat your mistake the next time there is an assignment due and instead of waiting for your assignments to pile up, complete them as soon as they’re assigned.

Forgive Yourself

From a very young age, we are taught to apologize to others for mistakes we make that affect them. However, most students don’t forgive themselves. It is important to forgive yourself when you stumble. If you get low marks on a test, or you make a decision you’re not proud of, forgive yourself. Sometimes compassion is not only something we can give to others, but to ourselves too.

Practice Good Self-Care

It is important to take good care of yourself. Skipping meals or eating unhealthily depletes your body’s store of vital nutrients and energy. Staying up and studying all night deprives your brain of the rest it needs. Staying in your room all day and avoiding social gatherings keeps you alone and isolated. 

Sleeping for at least 7-8 hours every night, eating three meals daily, going for walks, and spending time with friends are all good ways to take care of yourself and reduce academic stress. Any time you feel overwhelmed with study pressure, do at least three positive things for yourself. This is guaranteed to reduce your stress and help you deal with it. 


Good luck!

In conclusion, it is very important to remember that in order to achieve the optimum results academically, it is necessary to take good care of yourself mentally and physically. 


Author: Zunaira Faisal


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Published: 13 November 2022
Last Updated: 13 November 2022
Written by Zunaira Faisal