As we go through the different stages of life, one thing always seems inevitable and inescapable: Stress. Whether it’s school, your job, or trying to maintain healthy relationships with the people in your life, a lot of us feel this heavy weight on our shoulders that we just can’t seem to shake.

For many university students, school can be overwhelming. We think about our future and what test scores we need to get there. What will our family members think if we flunk a class? How can we juggle 5 courses and still have time to have our own lives outside of school? All these intrusive thoughts and more can lead to an unenjoyable school experience. Depression, anxiety, behavioural problems, and irritability are just a few of the many problems that university students with high academic stress may experience.

According to the article Academic stress, and It’s Sources Among University Students, the educational system also plays an enabling role leading to increased stress levels in students. Some of the sources include overcrowded lecture halls, grading systems, and inadequate resources and facilities.

When we are in these stressful situations, it may feel like there is no way out or that we will just always feel these negative emotions. The good news is, there are ways to help lighten the load even just a little bit:

1. Seek emotional support

In stressful situations, we are often pessimistic and view everything as being inherently negative. When we speak to people we trust about what is running through our minds, they may be able to help us see the situation more clearly and give an objective perspective to help us see things in a different light.

2. Journaling

Sometimes we may feel like we don’t want to talk to others about the way we feel, maybe because we feel like we can be a burden or maybe because we don’t feel comfortable talking to others about our emotions. However, even letting out these emotions on our own can help to alleviate some of the stress. Studies in both clinical and social psychology have demonstrated that writing or journaling decreases ruminations and alleviates depressive symptoms.

3. Make time for yourself

This one may seem obvious and repetitive, but it is important to practise self-care. University students spend hours upon hours reading and studying, and sometimes we forget to leave some time for the things we enjoy. Even for a short hour, draw, meditate, or catch up on that show you’ve been meaning to watch. Do something that gives you an outlet from the tension of everyday life.

Sometimes, we feel like the stress is never ending and even tips and tricks don’t seem to help. When you feel that things have become too overwhelming, it is okay to reach out and ask for help. Check out the resources made available to you on your campus or seek out professional help.

As a student, money and finances can definitely be factors that add on to our stress. Perhaps we don’t seek out resources because we don’t think they’d be available to us. However, there are options for affordable help. Cornerstone Counselling has great services suitable for students. The intern counsellors have rates as low as $20 a session. You can reach out through email ( or by phone at 780-482-6215.


Blog post by Bianca Biasini, Volunteer.


Reddy K. J, Menon K. R, Thattil A. Academic Stress and its Sources Among University Students. Biomed Pharmacol J 2018;11(1).

Beilock, S. (2011, September). Back to school: Dealing with academic stress. Sdl.Web.DataModel.KeywordModelData.

The College Student’s Guide to Stress Management. (2020). Retrieved 27 October 2021, from