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Stress Less: How to Maintain Your Sanity

When people ask me what Duke is like, the first thing that I say is “it’s hard.” Because honestly even though I love the school spirit and the close friends that I’ve made, the academics are undoubtedly rigorous. The whole idea of midterms seems like a sadistic plot to torture us all. Everyone has experienced overwhelming stress and anxiety over school work at some point. This can range from “I don’t even know where to start” to “I’m going to @#$#%* tear my hair out.” Life’s not easy, especially when you have three tests and four papers due in one week, not to mention that fact that you can’t even remember the last time you cleaned your dorm. Here are some tips to try to de-stress and maintain at least a little sanity.


Get off campus

Sometimes it seems like Duke is the entire world, especially because we’re so isolated. I learned that it really helps to take a break and go someplace off campus even if you do have tons of work; it actually makes you more productive in the long run. Getting dinner with friends on Ninth Street or shopping at Southpoint Mall can drastically reduce your stress levels. Even spending some time volunteering in underprivileged communities in Durham can really put things in perspective and improve your mood.


Take a walk

A little exercise can go a long way. Instead of spending eight hours straight in the library trying to tackle your to-do list, work for an hour or two at a time and take a break to walk outside and get some fresh air. An actual workout can majorly reduce your stress levels as well. Nothing makes me feel more powerful and renews my ambition more than running while listening to Beyonce. Plus, an endorphin rush can make you feel on top of the world.

Watch an episode of the Kardashians

This may sound a little silly but watching these crazy women experience constant drama can make you realize that your life really isn’t that hectic. Plus your stress is due to the fact that you attend a top university, not because someone saw pictures of you before your plastic surgery.

Talk to family

Nothing can reassure you that you are loved and that your hard work is worth it more than a quick call to your parents or other family members. Who else can you rant about your problems to without them thinking that you’re crazy? Sometimes getting the stress off your chest can be so therapeutic. My mom and I even arranged to send each other a motivational text message each morning. Here is my favorite so far

Regardless of what classes you take or how smart you are, college is stressful. But don’t let it build up; take breaks and reward yourself for all your hard work. Sometimes it helps to put on your Duke sweatshirt, look at our beautiful campus, and just realize that you’re here for a reason. 

Freshman at Duke University! I love my friends, running, buying things I can't afford, and watching Gossip Girl.
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