Alaina Gross ’25, Staff Writer

Since I walked into my first class, my mind has been scrambling from one thing to the next. When are our tests and quizzes? How about our midterm and final? What will the homework be like? Will I be able to manage my time properly? So many questions pop in and out of my mind. As a result, I feel like I struggle to focus on my work, stay motivated, and actually enjoy college. Considering how crazy the past two years have been with Covid, it’s understandable that starting school again would cause some stresses and anxieties to resurface. But what are the best ways to help reduce that new-semester stress? Ultimately it depends on the person, but there are a lot of ways to maintain and prevent stress!

  1. Use a Planner 

I find that I will experience a significant reduction in my stress levels if I know exactly what homework I have due and when, what events are happening during the week, and what tests or quizzes I have to prepare for. I have a dry erase calendar that I use to plot out my whole month and a physical planner to map out my week. However, sometimes our backpacks are so full that having another book to carry around seems like a nuisance. One fantastic thing about living in the digital age is that we now have whole websites devoted to scheduling! One website that I highly recommend is Notion. With its various templates, folders, tables, and calendars, the user is able to customize the website to fit their needs. It also has its own app that lets you access your planner from anywhere. Regardless of what you use, a planner is key to help make your week seem less intimidating. 

  1. Exercise

After a long day, the last thing you may want to do is exercise (especially since just going to class can feel like running a marathon). However, it is one of the best ways to let out some nervous energy. Immaculata requires that all students stay active whether through sports or their physical education courses. Whether you’re interested in aerobics, swimming, weight training, or even Irish dancing, there are so many things to choose from! I took a pilates course last semester and had such a fantastic time. While the idea of waking up at 9:30 on Monday mornings seemed a little daunting, I found that it was one of the best ways to start off my week! After class I felt so refreshed and motivated, even my school work seemed easier to manage. When I did miss a class, I felt very low energy, sluggish, and exhausted throughout the week. I highly recommend checking out on campus sports and clubs to keep yourself active!

  1. Give yourself scheduled time to relax

Sometimes, your brain just refuses to keep working which can make it hard if you have a paper due in 24 hours. One of the best things you can do is make designated relaxation time. Whether you decide to read a book, hang out with friends, do something creative, or practice mindfulness, it’s important to give yourself some downtime. Whenever I’m feeling stressed, something I tend to do is watch tv or draw. I might even have a mini spa day! I’ll get a shower and put on an avocado and oatmeal facemask which does wonders for my mental health (and my skin). 

I also set myself a strict schedule in terms of when I need to get work done and when I’m not allowed to work anymore. For example, when I’m working on something at night, I tell myself that I will work no later than 9:30. This way, I can have some down time before I go to sleep!

Obviously, everyone experiences stress differently and will find that some things will help minimize it more than others. It’s important to remember that feeling stressed out is common and easily remedied. Remember also to take advantage of IU’s Counseling Center in the Bruder Center on campus. Talking out your anxieties is one of the best things you can do to lift some weight off of your shoulders. Good luck with the rest of your semester, you got this!