College of Veterinary Medicine

Counseling & Wellness Services

Self-Help Information: Anti-Stress Tips for Students 

1. Begin your day by ordering your priorities. List what you want to accomplish during the day and prioritize these items. Realize that you will likely NOT get to some of these things that are of less importance. Do the important tasks first (rather than those tasks of lesser importance that you use to distract you from the important or harder tasks.)

2. Learn to say no. Often the students who are most stressed are the ones who too easily say yes to extra responsibilities because they don't want to disappoint someone, rather than because they think it is a task they want to or should take on.

3. Work on a time management plan that includes time for classes, family time, study time, and personal time. Make this time "sacred" and do not allow interruptions. Give yourself "permission" to take time for yourself. It needs to be intentional rather than something that happens when you can't stand to work any longer, leaving you feeling guilty about "wasting time".

4. Focus on efficiency in completing your work. Don't get bogged down with trivial tasks that are not your priority. Be realistic about how much time the work will take. This usually means that you need to estimate the time it will take and then add more time.

5. Remember that the manner in which homework is approached affects stress. Find your own pace for learning, one that gives you the most comfort and least agitation. Do you need to complete your work in short work periods over a period of time? Do you work best by putting in several hours of concentrated study? If you "cram", as do many students, how does that affect your stress level?

6. Focus your total concentration on the task at hand. "Multi-tasking" only dissipates your mental focus and energy for studying.

7. Human performance deteriorates after five yours. Take short relaxation breaks, do stretching or deep breathing, go for a short walk, or distract yourself with something else for a while. These breaks will improve your efficiency when you get back to studying.

8. Do not expect that you will complete all your homework every day. Preparation and studying will be heavier on some days than others. Accept this, allow yourself to leave things undone sometimes, and plan to make up for work that is undone on days when your workload is lighter. Doing a weekly or monthly study schedule and flexibly sticking to it will help you feel more in control of your workload.

9. Avoid interruptions when you are studying. You may need to close your door, not answer the phone, and tell others you will talk with them later.

Need Additional Help?

Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Counseling and Wellness Services offer free individual counseling for these and related issues for veterinary students (WSU Veterinary Students ONLY). For more information or to schedule an appointment call or e-mail:

Anne LaFrance, MA, Licensed Mental Health Counselor
(509) 335-4607
135A McCoy Hall

NOTE: The information contained in these self help documents is not to be used as a substitute for professional care.  Neither the authors, Washington State University nor the College of Veterinary Medicine assume liability for injury incurred by following the information presented in these self-help documents
Last Edited: May 13, 2014 12:44 PM   

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