Ask The Advocate: Dealing with midterm stress

Can midterms be managable? amboowho? on Flickr

How to manage when the stress feels unmanageable

By Kathryn Boyce, URSU Student Advocate

While there is research that shows that stress can be helpful during midterms because it increases motivation and productivity, I know that for some of our students the opposite is true.

This fall, URSU brought a new program to campus called mywellness. Mywellness is a mental health and wellness program designed specifically for Canadian post-secondary students. It helps students maintain a productive and positive lifestyle while completing their studies, while providing them with support resources.

When studying is stressing you to the max, take a wellness break: go to and learn some stress management techniques. There are workbooks, helpful websites, and stress reduction apps and tools.

Mywellness also contains a comprehensive list of wellness resources on campus, in the community and online.

As always, if your stress becomes debilitating and impacts your life negatively, please reach out for support. There are many services on campus that were established to help students overcome barriers and be successful in their educational journeys. Services that are as essential to success as any other element of your education. Services you are entitled to.

To find out about mywellness or other services please come and speak with me. You are worth every effort to ensure success.

Best of luck in your midterms.

Response: Beginning to look a lot like stress

By Ethan Butterfield, Arts and Culture Editor

Midterm stress affects us all as students. Sitting down, opening up your cluster of notes, and determining what in the world you were trying to write during any given class is something that drives everyone over the edge.

It’s like trying to decipher who, in any state of mind, decided to call a bird a turtledove when there’s a clear lack of any turtles that have to do with it. It’s maddening, I tell you. Maddening.

But I digress – the stress that comes along with midterms season is no fun at all. Not fun in terms of other assignments anyway, like the type of fun where you know you can at least sneak in one drink at The Owl because, “Oh, you worked really hard reading that page and a half, you deserve to treat yourself.” No, rather, it’s the little angel and devil on your shoulder continuously kicking you in the neck and screaming that you’ll never amount to your own expectations because your own mind is just cruel like that sometimes.

This random nonsense aside, I’m going to over a couple of tips and tricks to help with that midterm stress-ache that you’re giving yourself.

For starters, remember to breath. It’s an oldie and a goodie for a reason, people. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve panicked over the thought of failing or not knowing enough going in. However, when you take a moment to inhale and exhale (even counting to 10 if you want), you save yourself a lot of internal damage. So yeah, simply put, remember to breathe.

Next, and this is one that you need to read in-between the lines for, remember it’s okay to fail. Do you want to fail? No. Are you going in with the thought of failing? Certainly not. Sometimes though, it’s okay to remind yourself that not getting the grade you want isn’t going to be the end times. Yeah, it’ll sting, it’ll certainly hurt, but you’ll carry on. Plus, a reminder of failure isn’t a weakness, it’s a building block for what you want to overcome. Don’t take failing as a negative; take it as a motivator.

Finally – and this one may seem contradictory – take a break. I know, I know, I made fun of that earlier, but lord if this ain’t true. Just take 30 minutes to watch an episode of your favourite show and then get right back to it. In and out, quick as a flash. If you’re poring over your notes all the livelong day, your brain is going to have a difficult time putting two and two together until you give it the R&R it needs so that it can put those pieces together.

Also, don’t feel guilty for it, because then you’ll still be thinking about studying even though you’ve set that time aside for yourself, and that just doesn’t help anyone.

So, there you have it: a few quick tips on how to be your best self when taking on midterms. It’s a scary time for sure, but it comes and goes every year. And just think, when it’s done, you can drown away those memories with whatever good times you want (just be responsible for god’s sake).

So good luck out there and have yourselves a fine midterm season. Or don’t, I’m not your dad. P.S. lay off the coffee.

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