Stress can be a monster if left unchecked. College students are among the most stressed out groups and with good reason. Those in graduate school programs face an even higher level of stress. Working towards a Master’s degree and the nature of work involved with grad school offers plenty of opportunities for students to become overwhelmed, frustrated and even stuck.
People facing a lot of stress during grad school do have solutions they can turn to. Tackling signs of stress early on make for a more productive way to go about balancing all the demands that this level of higher education tends to command.
Establish a Proper Sleep Schedule & Stick to It!
Nothing enhances stress greater than being sleep deprived. Learn early on how to create a sleep schedule that works in harmony with the classes you’re taking on a daily basis. Don’t forget to factor in how much time needs to be devoted to completing assignments outside of the classroom.
Only in class a few days out of the week? Then create a sleep schedule that ensures you’re in bed at a decent time each night. In classes everyday? Then squeeze in periods for naps. Even the shortest cat nap is enough to rest the brain and recharge the entire body.
Never place sleep on the back burner. Doing this will only serve to add on to the stress you’re already feeling.
Break Bad Cramming Habits from the Undergrad Years
Cramming is a popular method used by college students, especially undergrads. But remember, graduate school is different. Staying up all night trying to memorize as much information as possible in a short amount of time isn’t productive, nor is it the right approach for handling courses at this level. Cramming might make students feel like they’re accomplishing a lot but in reality it contributes to feelings of being stressed.
Instead of relying on old methods of studying, learn how to adapt newer, healthier solutions for digesting the information and knowledge gained during class. Once you get the hang of how each instructor teaches and understand the amount of work each course requires, start developing study habits to accommodate each class. This could mean setting up study times during specific time frames on certain days when you know you’ll be able to work at a good pace.
Dedicating certain days and time frames for each class/subject you’re taking is a more organized approach to studying that results in a lower stress level.
Use the To-Do-List Method to Strategize Your Workload
Checklists and to-do-lists are effective ways of establishing time management skills that will keep you on track. Stress at the graduate school level often creeps up as a result of students feeling like they have too much to do but not enough time. To-do-lists allow students to prioritize in a way that serves as a helpful reminder of what task to do and in what order.
Each time an item gets crossed off the list, it creates a sense of accomplishment, which is ideal for keeping unwanted stress at bay.