Best Practices for Navigating Academic Stress

The Undergraduate Association has compiled the flow chart below to help all students, but particularly first-year students, navigate academic stress. The flow chart provides advice and resources for many possible scenarios you may encounter, but may not be fully exhaustive. When in doubt, check your class syllabi for subject-specific guidance. 


Strategies for Self-Care

  • Take breaks to re-energize and avoid eye strain and muscle fatigue. You may want to use an app or alarm that reminds you to stand up and move around. Try out different strategies to get into habits that work for you, such as the 20-20-20 strategy to reduce eye strain (every 20 minutes, look at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds) or scheduling walks throughout the day. 

  • Find ways to stay socially connected even while physically isolated. Try maintaining a virtual "lounge" for your living community or other social groups where people can work in parallel, play remote games, watch TV or movies simultaneously, or simply check in. 

  • Sleep, exercise, healthy eating, and hydration are more important than ever to keep-up your energy while you are healthy and support your immune system if you get sick. Keep water or tea accessible while working, schedule exercise daily, and stick to a sleep schedule. 

  • For more wellness resources and tips, check out this list from MIT Medlinks or this one from DAPER.  

  • Remember that there are many caring staff at MIT that are here to support you. Most offices are currently offering meetings via phone or video chat.