How I Overcame Academic Anxiety

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Mia Gutierrez
Blog author Mia is standing against a blue sky with white cloud background, holding a coffee-to-go cup. She has her eyes closed and is smiling.

I found my junior year of college to be my most difficult year yet. The workload was very challenging, and I had to let go of numerous extracurricular commitments and social events. It was hard to leave roles that I was passionate about and sacrifice time with family and friends. I realized midway through my Fall semester that I was taking multiple tests every three weeks or so and had a never-ending course load.

Unfortunately, it got to the point in the semester where I had four tests in one week and studied for hours on end. This brought me a substantial amount of stress and anxiety. It wasn’t until I took my Operations Management test, I realized that I had academic anxiety. I couldn’t focus properly and even though I studied enough, I panicked and felt like I was going to fail.

However, I was able to overcome the anxiety that I experienced during my junior year and was able to excel in both my Spring semester finals and course grades overall. I attribute being able to overcome this hurdle in my college career to several different areas of my life: faith, fitness, mental health breaks, and connection with family and close friends.

My faith is what primarily helped me through this mental block. I felt that reading my Bible, doing devotionals, praying, and having others at church pray for me as well really made an impact. I truly wouldn’t have gotten through that year without relying primarily on my faith.

In addition, focusing on fitness and implementing mental health breaks when working on schoolwork aided me greatly in overcoming this obstacle. I love to work out, it’s a great stress reliever and very refreshing. I made time to lift weights and run every day. This allowed me to start off my school days on a positive note and helped me to have a confident mindset. In order to prevent burnout during my schoolwork days, I downloaded a timer app on my laptop and scheduled mental health breaks between study and homework sessions. I was able to clear my mind and not get overwhelmed from working on coursework for too long.

Something I value most is spending time with my family and close friends. I truly wouldn’t have persevered this last year without them. Having people to talk to and be completely honest with was integral to overcoming academic anxiety. Who you have in your corner is important and essential in both the joyful and challenging parts of life. You need people who can cheer you on and be a shoulder to cry on.

As someone who has dealt with mental health issues ever since high school, I know it’s important for students to know they’re not alone. There are so many stressors that can be overwhelming and worrisome in a college student’s life. You’re not crazy about crying over a test or panicking about numerous deadlines at once. Also, you won’t be stuck forever feeling this way. You can and will overcome academic anxiety. You can and will graduate with the degree you’ve been working towards. In the moment, I know it is easy to want to give up and believe that you won’t get through college. I encourage you to implement some of the strategies I’ve given above or reach out to a family member or friend for help. You’ve got this!

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