Expert tips to maximise your uni experience without added stress

Ana Ferreira Manhoso

20 January 2017

Setting study goals; joining any of the students clubs; participating in social sports; meeting new people; and going for that coffee or two in Fremantle’s West End are just some of the ways new students can remove stress from their uni experience, according to Performing Arts Association of Notre Dame Australia (PAANDA) President, Ana Ferreira Manhoso.

As the new university year draws near, many new faces will arrive at universities across Australia. Some will come with feelings of excitement, or apprehension, or a tinge of nervousness – or all three and more! But with some simple steps that help achieve a positive study-life balance, students can make their university experience the best years of their lives.

Located within heritage-listed buildings reflecting the city’s port history, Notre Dame is nestled between the Fremantle city centre, transport networks and the beautiful Bathers Beach – making it one of the most vibrant university campuses in Western Australia.

Arriving at Notre Dame with a passion for theatre and all things film, Ana joined PAANDA (along with a number of other student clubs) and met many students who were creative, like-minded and fun. Attracted to Notre Dame for its location and personalised approach to learning, Ana says university life is something each student should grasp with both hands.

“I simply cannot imagine my university experience without involvement in clubs and student representation – it is so important to get involved and seek opportunities to meet people, and achieve great things aside from your academic journey,” Ana says.

Here are some tips from Ana that many new (and current) students might find useful to achieve a positive study-life balance:

  1. Awareness
    Make sure you know about all of your deadlines. There’s nothing worse than the sudden feeling of impending doom when you realise you have a deadline to meet sooner than you thought.
  2. Organisation
    A diary is a must. In the same way you schedule your deadlines, study dates, and classes, schedule the fun stuff too! I know this might be hard for the spontaneous but planning your social life in (somewhat) advance means you will definitely get some playtime.
  3. Feel your feelings
    Positive mental health is important and looking after your mental health goes beyond a healthy lifestyle and occasional yoga. As students, it is so easy to push aside feelings or thoughts that inconvenience us and distract from the tasks we feel we really need to do. I have learnt it is important to listen to your mind and embrace the feelings that come to you; they are there for a reason – if pushed aside they can become much larger than they were to begin with and can manifest into different, more harmful feelings. Nobody wants that.
  4. Setting goals
    Setting goals and sticking to them are some of the most valuable things you will learn in your university experience. It is important to put in place some stepping-stones from where you are now to where you want to be, in order to make your journey easier and more enjoyable.
  5. Sleep
    Sleep is the foundation of general functionality. Sleep deprivation can be so subtle and affects us much more than you think – there’s a reason ‘sleep deprivation’ is a type of torture! I try to get at least eight hours a night and I even try to spend the last 20 minutes of my night in darkness (no phone or laptop) and the first 20 minutes of every day in sunlight (drink your morning coffee outside). This helps my brain properly adjust to what it is about to do and ensures I get a good, uninterrupted sleep, and that I am awake and energised when the day begins.

“Notre Dame really wasn’t kidding when they said you’re a student not a number. All the way from your admissions process to your final classes, Notre Dame scatters your path with endless opportunities to feel supported. Academic and administrative staff are all super helpful when getting to know your course, and which one is right for you,” Ana says.


Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;