Don’t Lose Your Cool

Don’t Lose Your Cool

Managing stress in everyday life


Illustration: Josephine Ng / THE MIKE.


Stress. You know it, I know it, we all know it. It can occupy your body. It can occupy your soul. It can also occupy your mind. From sun up to sun down, it can consume you — if you let it. There is a common meme that states, “Diamonds are made under pressure,” but the connotation is usually sarcastic. 

I claim to be no expert at stress. I let it consume me. As a humanities student, my self-proclaimed finest hours are the hours before papers are due. Somewhere in the distance I can hear professors, parents, and even high school teachers saying, “This could have been avoided!” But let’s be honest, not many of us heed this call. 

University can be a tough place. Your social life, classes, and sleep are kept in an uneasy balance — if there is ‘balance.’ There’s more stimuli with each professor thinking that their class is your only class and blindly prescribing homework.  

The experience is common.  

Because of this, there are many resources available at your disposal. St. Mike’s has a personal psychiatrist you can book an appointment with. U of T’s Health Services does too. 

And I know personally how hard it is to reach out for help when you feel like the proverbial house is burning. But understand that there are people looking out for you. This includes professors who, believe it or not, were once in your shoes too! They’re not all robots! 

So, what are other ways of dealing with stress? Surround yourself with friends. Go out for a jog — if that’s your thing. Try something new. Take some time to yourself. With deadlines, I know that it might seem counterproductive, but these things help change your mindset. It can help you refocus and make you zero in on your goals. 

Managing stress is important especially since it is unfortunately an unavoidable part of our lives. It will be tough. You’ll need help or at least someone to vent to. But you’ll become better at dealing with it, and it will become easier. 

That being said for the most part, I’ve conquered academic stress. However, this isn’t the only stress that we as students face. I carry no complete solution for managing other stresses. 

We all come from different backgrounds, different experiences, and carry with us different baggage. The only words I can give are that we should realize this fact and, with it in mind, be more compassionate toward others. 

Reach out if someone is bogged down. Don’t persist, but let them know you’re there. Listen rather than advise. But most importantly, be there. If you think there’s something wrong, don’t be afraid to reach out on behalf of someone else. 

University is supposed to be the best years of your life, and the stress that comes with it is inevitable. If you think of stress as a test, make sure to acknowledge that it is open book. Some thrive under stress; some barely manage to scrape by. But at the end of the day, remember, thousands graduate this institution every year — only proving that there truly is a light at the end of the tunnel.