How to deal with stress during an online semester

Hey my loves,

the entire world is still dealing with this pandemic and while everyone’s life has been influenced by it, one that has influenced me the most is the shift in how my College deals with it. It is now my second semester with just online classes and I don’t know about you, but I find online semesters a lot more stressful. While I do think it is necessary to deal with this pandemic accordingly, and I am for online classes, I do feel like some of the lecturers, as the students, are overwhelmed with the situation and how to deal with it.

But, why?

First of all, a lot of the work lays with us, the students. If the lecturer decides to do an asynchron class, which means no video calls or uploaded video presentation, we have to do a lot of work to show that we do something for this class and did enough to gain the credit points. But even if the class is synchron, which means you have video calls or chats each week at the same time, you have to do a lot more than usually. Or at least, it feels like it. For a lot of students, even me, this means more stress and a lot of planning. And for a lot of students this is hard, because they do not know how to plan everything right.

I currently have nine classes, two are for my electives, which means I have seven classes for my major. I plan on writing two papers and take one oral exam, the rest of the classes I am doing for the credit points. This is a lot for a semester and I know that, but I have reasons for this. I am a semester away from starting my master thesis and I want to give myself enough time and space to do it right, which is why I want to have a pretty full semester now. I could have done it differently, but I personally am pretty organized and have found ways to deal with the stress.

Here’s how to deal with stress during an online semester

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.

Plan everything out

I personally find it very helpful to have a weekly to do list. I like to write my task for each individual class with deadlines down and add things like home stuff to have an overall view. I also like to assign time slots in my calendar to the individual tasks. I plan the synchron classes and the asynchron classes the same, if I have a time slot free between classes where a asynchron class is assigned I will use this time to take a break but also to start the work for the asynchron class. It’s also a great feeling to tick off the to do list. Sometimes it gets overwhelming to see what you have to do in a week, so I like to make sure to categorize them in order of importance. Under each class I put the thing I definitely have to do and which needs the most time and then move forward to the next thing.

Take breaks

Breaks are very important especially when your doing all the work from home. In between classes I have around thirty minutes that I usually spent snacking, watching YouTube, shake my legs or do something at home that does not involve College work. I also make sure to have a lunch break around the same time every day that way I keep a routine down. For more about my daily routine, check out my blog entry from the other day:

It’s okay to ask for an extension

This is a difficult time and it is a stressful time, which is why a lot of lecturers a willing to give some extra time on your hand-ins and exercises. Just be truthful. It happens to the best of us. Accepting that you cannot do it all is sometimes the only way to accept the stress and deal with it properly. But, if you have a good plan and stick to it, it won’t be often that you will have to ask for more time.

Make sure to eat right

It sounds stupid, right? But, I have found that if you take time out of your day to prepare a whole meal and a healthy one at that it helps with keeping up your stamina. I like to eat at least two times a time a meal with vegetables or fruit. Meals and snacks that are well balanced keep your mind sharp and your energy level highs. Try to avoid highly processed food and too much sugar, I also found that I like to keep my caffeine intake low. If I do drink a coffee I like to keep the number at one.

Set boundaries

It is so easy to just keep working into the late hours, but a good night sleep is very important in stressful times. I personally do not work longer than around 7 pm. Everything over that just keeps me up at night. Sometimes, especially when you have something due, it can be difficult to stick to this timeframe, but for most days of the week I like to make sure that around 7 pm I am closing my laptop.

Do something besides College work

If you have a lot to do it is hard to find time to do something other than your College duties, but it is so important to make some time for family or friends or a hobby. I personally like to go for a walk or meet up with a friend to cook and watch a movie. But, whatever works for you is the best. I would suggest doing something physical, because we do tend to sit for a long time.

What do you like to do in stressful times to calm yourself? Let me know in the comments I would love to know.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin

How I Dealt With Stress While Writing 3 Papers Simultaneously

Hey my loves,

Last week I talked about my personal development story so I thought it would only be fitting to talk about how I deal with stress in a little bit more detail and especially focus on how I managed to write three papers simultaneously and prepare an oral exam.

Now the ideal procedure is to write one paper after the other and have about two months to finish each of them. Well, I didn’t have that pleasure, I had to write them simultaneously and two of them actually had their due date in the same week. But I managed to do them, and I actually did pretty good.

And here’s how I did it.

how i deal with stress.jpeg

I made an individual plan to follow for each of the papers, as well as one for the oral exam. The only thing I didn’t to is set myself due dates for certain aspects, because I, for myself, know that it does not work for me. And, because usually you have at least two or three problems with the paper – may it be just phrasing problem or a blockade.

Here’s what I did before I enrolled my papers:

  • I discussed with my lecturers possible topics and then I researched it.
  • I compiled a list of literature that I wanted to check out and then I actually went into the library and copied anything that was remotely connected to my thesis.
  • After reading all of the secondary literature I wrote out the citations on my computer and then organized them after the sub-topics. That way it was easier for me to keep an overview of the citations.

I did these steps for all four exams. And then I enrolled my papers, the enroll-time for the oral exam is only four weeks before the date.

Here’s what I did after enrolling:

  • I made sure to only work on one paper on a day. This meant that I wouldn’t have as much time as I should have, but allowed me to have a better overview of my work.
  • I also made sure to spend some quality offline. Meaning I spent time with friends or family that gave me enough space to never feel burned out. I feel like the time I spent with them or went into the gym gave me the needed energy.
  • I am a person who works and does not like to stop until a certain thing is achieved. So on the day I was working on a paper I set myself mini goals, approximately so far apart that I could take a break for lunch and be finished around dinner time. That way I was able to finish two to four sub-items each day, sometimes more, sometimes less.
  • I also made sure to write with the correct formalities, so that I would not have to alter them after I was done. Furthermore, I made sure to write down every secondary literature into my bibliography as soon as I used one. Also in the correct and asked for formality.

I also had a friend proofread for me, which was super helpful, because most of the time after writing so much, you don’t see your own mistakes anymore.

Here’s how I dealt with the stress:

  • As I said I made sure to spend quality time offline with friends and family.
  • In also liked working out on the days I worked on my papers or go for a walk just so I get a little bit of exercise that day.
  • Furthermore I made sure to eat good and healthy meals, so my brain was fueled with energy and had the tools to work in overtime.
  • I also made sure to never work longer than 9 pm. So that I had enough time to switch off my brain and have some me-time before bed.

I hope that this gave you a good insight on how I deal with stress especially in regards to College time management and stressful finals time.

I wish you all a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.