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Notre Dame 5 Star University
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Successful Learning Strategies

Techniques and tools to learn more efficiently and effectively.

Stress at university

Studying at university is a challenging experience academically, and can be physically and emotionally difficult as well. Research from the National Union of Students (2016) shows that the majority of younger Australian students rate their mental health as "fair" or "poor", which means that if you are feeling stressed or anxious, you are not alone. 99% of students reported some level of stress toward academic work, with exams being most stressful and lectures the least. See below for tips and tools on ways to practice self-care when times are tough.

Tools & tips

Services at Notre Dame

  • Counselling: students have access to free, professional counselling services on the Fremantle and Sydney campuses; students in Broome may phone the Fremantle office for advice and support. Fully-trained counsellors are on hand to help you with a range of issues.
  • Sexual Assault and Harassment: learn about Notre Dame's policy and find support services if you have experienced sexual assault or harassment.
  • Sport and recreation: provides opportunities for students of all ages and abilities to participate in sports on a social and competitive level. Fitness programs such as yoga and pilates are also offered.
  • Campus Ministry: provides opportunities for students to engage in social events, spiritual formation, prayer, and charitable works.

Other Services

Stress can be caused by anything that we perceive as a threat to our wellbeing. These tactics can help to keep it under control. 

  • Ask for help. Avoid thinking you can do it all. Ask for help, both at work and at home. You can repay them in kind when the pressure is off.
  • Avoid stimulants and chemical diversions. Caffeine, alcohol and drugs can have negative effects on your ability to concentrate. Try to stop consuming them completely during peak stress periods, or at least cut down on them.
  • Breath in, breath out. Our breath impacts how our body responds to stressful situations. Deep, controlled breathing relaxes the body and reduces the production of adrenalin and other stress hormones. 
  • Communicate with significant others. Talking helps us process feelings and reduces anxiety. 
  • Exercise every day. It is proven that regular exercise improves your mental health, as well your physical fitness. Daily exercise can be an important part of stress management.
  • Learn to say ‘no’. You can’t be everything to everyone and you don’t have to do everything people ask you to do. Make your goals the first priority in critical times of the semester.
  • Nourish your body, nourish your mind. A good diet is a critical part of staying healthy and performing at your peak. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetable and snack on healthy things to keep yourself going.
  • Take care of yourself. Take some time everyday to take good care of yourself. Unwind, relax, do something you really enjoy and that makes you feel good. You’ll study better afterwards. 
  • Know when to get help. A little bit of stress is a call to action – a lot of stress can stop you from functioning. Experiencing high levels of stress for long periods of time can be detrimental to your physical and mental wellbeing (Nordqvist, 2017).


National Union of Students & Headspace, (2016). National Tertiary Student Wellbeing Survey 2016. Retrieved from

Nordqvist, C. (2017). How stress happens and how to manage it. Retrieved from