There is a lot to be stressed out about at exam time. Whether it is your first year or your last, it is difficult to balance the intense workload with other commitments, such as arranging accommodation for next year. First and foremost, if you feel you are struggling to cope, whether you have pre-existing health conditions or not, the most important thing to do is consult a medical professional. If feelings of anxiety are disrupting your life, speak to your GP – a quarter of all GP appointments are regarding mental health, so a good GP should not have problems with leading the conversation.
The next step is to speak to somebody at the university. If you do not feel comfortable speaking to your hall warden or personal tutor, the counselling service is great to contact, and won’t share anything with your department without your consent. If you do choose to disclose any information, they are a good go-to for negotiating deadline extensions and exam arrangements, and will be able to point you towards a designated staff member in your department. For example, with evidence of medical issues you may be able to arrange separate accommodation for exams, or rest breaks if you need them. However, it is important to note these arrangements may have deadlines.
There are also things you can do to help yourself cope. If you’re struggling socially, remember that you are not obligated to attend anything if you don’t feel like you have enough time, but it is important to strike a balance so that you don’t end up isolating yourself.
If you are feeling like a lack of social interaction is affecting you in a bad way, make an effort to integrate some group work into your revision plan. It may be refreshing to mix it up if you’ve been staring at your problem sheets alone in the library. If stress is affecting your day-to-day functions, try to pinpoint specific struggles you may have. For example, if you struggle with preparing meals try cooking in batches when you feel more up to it, or arranging joint mealtimes with flatmates.
Self-care should always be a priority. Get a bit of exercise. If you can’t afford an hours’ gym session, consider getting off the tube a few stops early and walking for ten minutes. Celebrate the little achievements, and do not judge yourself if a nap in the middle of the day or an overpriced hot chocolate is what gets you through your notes. If you are falling behind, remember that any work done is less work to do, and it is important that you make time for yourself. Nothing is more important than your health and wellbeing.