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A Reflection on First-Week Stress

Light purple text that reads “First-Week Stress: A Reflection” on a starry night background.

At the beginning of this year I wrote about my struggles with first-week stress. What challenges me most in the initial period of the semester are the unknowns. They leave me feeling anxious and out of control. This semester I was able to manage some of these feelings a lot better than in year’s past…

The very first day of classes, I had to write a test I was completely unprepared for and the following day I had to make my way to campus for an in-person lab that I was also unprepared for. Last year, this would have felt nearly unmanageable. I reminded myself of the post I had written about back-to-school stress and decided to change my outlook on the situation. I kept asking myself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”. The worst that could have happened was that I would fail from my lack of preparation. However, every single student in my class was facing the same struggles and surely we couldn’t all fail the course. I felt better knowing that I was one of many people in the same boat.

In the end, I surprised myself as well. I used the strategies I suggested in my earlier blog post and found that the thought record helped a lot.

Thought Record
Download PDF • 43KB

It was helpful to have a place to record how I was feeling and be able to evaluate them from a new lens. In addition, I found that attending the University of Manitoba’s gym and group workouts was a great way to decompress. There are even online classes for when I didn’t feel like leaving home.

It felt like a success to be able to manage a situation that might have been much more challenging just a few years ago. For the tools I used and a few more ways to deal with back-to-school stress, click here. Remember, improving mental health is not linear; improvements occur but setbacks will occur too. Be patient and kind with yourself as you improve.


About the Author

Jayden (She/Her)

Hello! This is my second year with the Healthy U team and I have loved gaining knowledge about a variety of health topics and working alongside the many talented members. I am currently in the Faculty of Science and working towards majoring in Biology.

I enjoy getting to know new people and spending time with my family. My hobbies include running, camping and skiing.


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