Students who Stress do Less

Michaela Pascoe published an article in the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ that read ‘Nearly half of Australian school kids are stressed. Here’s how to fix it’ in (Jan 2014). Fast forward to October the 19th of 2018, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Education, launched the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework. The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework is a foundational document that will provide Australian schools with a vision and a set of guiding principles to support school communities to build positive learning environments, and to consider reviewing their current safety and wellbeing policies and support requirements.

This Framework enables St Edmund’s College to design and implement best-practice guidance in developing and implementing policies and support mechanisms to help all students from the first year of school to Year 12.

St Edmund’s College does this specifically through their targeted Year Level Formation Programme in conjunction with integrated cross-curricular themes. Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, developed a five core element of psychological well-being and happiness. Seligman believes that these five elements can help people work towards a life of fulfilment, happiness, resilience, emotional intelligence and meaning. With the College now approaching its final weeks of Term 3, assessment and examination time is fast approaching.

Unfortunately, stressful situations at school and in life in general, are unavoidable and assessment and exam times can be these exact situations. Anxiety in general can cause a variety of physical and emotional symptoms and may impact a student’s learning and success in school. From sleep problems and headaches to irritability and forgetfulness, too much of it can be paralysing. Every student experiences stress and anxiety differently, and each have different reasons for being stressed in the lead up to exams, assignments and their final summation of academic life. Whatever the symptoms, and whatever the reasons for feeling stressed are, there have been a plethora of strategies to manage stress and enhance one’s coping mechanisms.

Managing stress in its early stages can help maximize the college experience and opportunities for students. Practical stress management plans, can help students deal with their worries and become more productive, competent and efficient. Here are a few tips for managing stress:

Organisation is very important in academic life for dealing with stress (Sinha, 2014). By keeping academic notes organised, turning in assignments on time, and keeping track of all deadlines, stress can be reduced to a great extent.

If you keep focusing on the negative aspects of a situation, you will be burdened by mental stress (Thompson & Gaudreau, 2008). Instead, try to look at the glass half full, and stay optimistic through tough times. For example, instead of feeling upset over a bad grade, try to maintain a positive attitude and look at ways to improve the next time.

Finally, whatever the case maybe when dealing with stress and study, proper time management is one of the most effective stress-relieving techniques (Macan et al., 1990).

Whether it’s relaxation, play, work or study, time must be spent wisely. Students must be able to design and stick to a timetable that works for them. If you have identified that your child may be showing symptoms of stress please talk to the team at St Edmund’s College Canberra. Reachout.com Australia also has a lot of advice, tips and resources for parents and students who trying to become lifelong learners whilst navigating life through the stages of early adolescence.

Tim MacArthur
Head of Rice House



Lewis, J. & Webster, A. (2014). Sort Your Brain Out: Boost Your Performance, Manage Stress and Achieve More. Capstone.

Macan, T. H., Shahani, C., Dipboye, R. L. & Phillips, A. P. (1990). College Students’ Time Management: Correlations With Academic Performance and Stress. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(4), pp. 760-768.

Pascoe, M. (2018 — 9.25pm) ‘Nearly half of Australian school kids are stressed. Here’s how to fix it’, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 January 2018

Sinha, A. (2014). Stress vs Academic Performance. SCMS Journal of Indian Management, 11(4), p. 46.

Thompson, A. & Gaudreau, P. (2008). From Optimism and Pessimism to Coping: The Mediating Role of Academic Motivation. International Journal of Stress Management, 15(3), pp. 269-288.

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