Your Guide to University Success | GRAD - page 34

I do what it takes to reach
my goals.
I am
confident.
I am enthusiastic.
We often hear of athletes “psyching them-
selves up” or “getting the adrenaline flow-
ing” before an event – in other words, evok-
ing the very same reactions that the student
sees as a stumbling block to success.
Stress can either be a barrier or an aid to
success, depending on how you interpret,
label and control it. It will help you to per-
form at your best IF you
Â
Â
can learn to accept the physical symptoms
of stress and label them positively
Â
Â
know at what level you are motivated or
paralysed by stress
Â
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can bring your stress down to manageable
levels.
How do you do that? Stress has both
physiological and psychological
components, so it is best
to tackle it from
many directions.
Winter – third term
continued
summer
preparing
for the final
examinations
Ensure realistic
performance
expectations
Research shows that many students demand
too much from themselves in exams. Someone
who usually gets 60% for Maths may suddenly
demand 75% of himself or herself; or a student
who achieved straight As in matric may expect
to do the same at university. That is not going
to happen. If you find yourself thinking “60%
is the same as failing to me”, do a reality check.
See where your marks are now. Work hard to
keep them there, then slowly build on that. If
we set realistic performance goals for ourselves,
we will become accustomed to success rather
than failure, and nothing motivates
like success.
Identify any unrealistic
expectations you may
have, especially in the
subjects you find most
stressful. Then draw up
an action plan, setting
goals that will slowly
but surely get you from
where you are now to
where you want to be.
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