What Is Stress?

Stress is something that all university students deal with. It occurs when the demands on a person exceed their ability to cope. Stress can be caused by many things – the most obvious for university students are examinations and assignment deadlines, work, problems with friendships and relationships, financial problems, perfectionism and balancing studying and life. However, positive events such as a new relationship, and starting a new university year can also cause stress.

Symptoms of Stress

We can experience stress in various ways:

  • Thoughts: One’s thoughts can become distorted so that we blow things out of proportion and think that the worst thing will happen. We can also worry excessively. 

  • Feelings: A person can feel irritated, tense, frustrated, and nervous. 

  • Behaviours: One can become short with others, cry, or take our frustrations out on things or other people. Appetite and sleep may be disturbed. They could also start to avoid situations that cause us stress, drink alcohol, or use recreational drugs to cope.

  • Physical: Muscle tension, headaches, stomach problems, restlessness, increased heart rate, and increased breathing rate.

Coping with Stress

 Stress Management Practices

Dealing with Stress in the Moment 

Learn how to use the power of your senses to relieve stress on the spot and stay calm, productive, and focused—no matter what life throws at you.


If you find that your stress, worry, or other emotions are starting to affect your ability to study, sleep, or interact with others, reaching out for professional support can help.