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Managing School Stress

During the academic year, whether you’re a full-time or part-time student, professor, or staff on a school campus, it is inevitable for stress to build up. This may come from managing academic responsibilities related to completing or grading assignments, making an academic deadline at a fast-paced institution, or experiencing residual stress from a fellow student, colleague, or advisor. Here are some things to think about when on campus or participating in that online forum for that discussion assignment:

  • Have a schedule. Whether you use an online, phone-based, or paper schedule, make time in your day to note what is due, when it’s due and how to turn it in. Whether it’s an email, a paper that needs to be printed, or a presentation that needs to be made, knowing what’s due and when can help manage the academic-based stress.

  • Practice self-care. Regardless of how much needs to get done, consider making time to do something good for yourself. Have a treat, take a walk, write in your journal — if the activity will help reduce stress so you can get back to your school-based responsibilities, make time for it.

  • Be prepared: Whether teaching a class or logging on, make sure you have everything you want for that task at hand by your side or in your bag. That could be school supplies, snacks, schedules, syllabi, or a bottle of water. At the start of class time, having these things nearby can ease one’s mind during the learning experience.

So when you’re in the midst of a busy academic year, have midterms or final papers on the agenda, or become academically swamped, try a few of these ideas out so you can make it through the semester.


Lou Lim is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.

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