Third-year veterinary science student Aoife gives some tips on how to manage the stress of studying and student life. 

Hey, my name is Aoife and I’m a third-year vet student. So as you can imagine, getting stressed about studying and feeling overwhelmed by college are things I do on a daily basis. So I would like to share a few of the tips and pep talks I give myself when I’m trying not to expire in a puff of stress and caffeine! Hope it helps!

Take a break!

You’ve been in the library for three hours, nothing is making sense anymore and you’re getting nothing done. Give yourself a break! You’d be amazed how much more efficient you will be when you get back to work.  After having a relaxing coffee with friends, or going on a quick walk around campus.

Plan it out

It’s so easy to feel swamped when exams grow nearer, and assignments build up. You’re so stressed you get nothing done, and then panic about needing to stop panicking! We’ve all been there.  Instead of feeling like you can’t get through infinite amounts of work, break it down, and plan it out.

Start off by making a list of everything you have to do and estimating how long each component will take you. Then write up a timetable and plan when you’re doing what. All of a sudden, you have a plan of action, you are in control, and it’s going to be tough, but you can actually manage to get everything finished. Keep it realistic though! Plan in time for lunch, coffee, and maybe a quick walk, and don’t forget you do need some time to sleep!


Study somewhere new

A change of scene goes a long way in helping you stay relaxed and happy when studying intensively. The lakes at UCD are a cool place to sit outside and get some revision done, all while getting a breath of fresh air and not feeling trapped in the library for hours on end. To find some real peace and quiet, try out the secret lakes behind the vet building!

Put it into perspective

When things start going wrong on you, it’s easy to feel like your entire world is crumbling. Trust me, sooner than you think, that argument you had, that exam you failed, that assignment you forgot about, will be a distant memory and will definitely not have changed the course of your life.

Talk to friends

It’s easy to give yourself a hard time and convince yourself that classmates are ten steps ahead. Chances are, they’re really not. They are probably also still working on that assignment, and still confused about that difficult lecture, but you just won’t know, if you don’t talk to them about it. When you find out you’re not alone in your struggles, it becomes a lot easier not to get stressed.

UCD Students

People have pulled this off before you!

You may feel at times that the workloads you are being given are impossible but don’t panic. For years before you, people have taken the course, been just as daunted and pulled it off. If they could do it, so can you!

Takes the stress out of transport

Transport in Dublin, like in any big city, can seem a little chaotic at times. Buses being late, getting stuck in traffic when driving in, and don’t even get me started on finding a place to park. So every once in a while, or even regularly if your commute allows it, try walking in or cycling. It gives you time to clear your mind, a breath of fresh air, and a bit of exercise before the day begins.

Drink lots of water

Probably sounds pretty random, but the truth is the last thing you want when you’re already stressed and under time pressure is to get a nasty headache that clouds your mind. Headaches from dehydration are really common, so don’t forget to drink!


Talk to your student advisers

Every academic program at UCD has an assigned student adviser. Their role is to provide support, assistance and even just someone to talk to about any issue you may need help with, be it personal, social, academic or financial. No issue is too big or too small. Sometimes just speaking to a neutral outside person and putting words on how you feel helps put things into perspective and gives you the clarity you need to feel more in control.

And remember, stress doesn’t help you get things done!

We often find ourselves feeling like we have to get stressed to be more efficient at solving a problem. The truth is, a little stress can help, but a lot of stress is just exhausting. So give yourself the
right to relax and don’t let stress be something you rely on to force yourself to get things done.