How to survive FMOC stress

You’ll thank me later

The first week of classes was fun for everyone. Social events every night and syllabus reviews every day. But beware, the second (and third and fourth) week of classes is upon us, and with that second week of class comes a special kind of stress.

“Holy shit, this semester started and I have tons of shit to do” stress. FMOC – first month of class – stress. Here are some tips for getting through this semester without a surprise test next Tuesday or having to stay in on a precious Thursday night.

Get a planner

First, write all of your important dates down in a planner – that is, what you should’ve been doing last week that you have to do this week now. When your important dates are scattered from syllabus to syllabus, it is hard to visualize you can handle all of the tests and essays.

In a planner, you’ll see a few weeks this semester may be stressful, but it’s definitely doable. Some online planners work better for those of us who are constantly chained to their computer. Some will even send you push notifications when a deadline is approaching.

Eat healthy

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Eat foods high in potassium. Potassium is known to calm nerves, so eat a banana with breakfast or lunch on a test or project day. On the topic of bananas, why doesn’t UNC have a “UNC banana eaters” Twitter account like Michigan State? Looking at this account alone is stress relief.


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Cuddling releases oxytocin, so cuddle with your roommate, your pet, or your boyfriend (who may function as all three). Even just a short hug can make you feel better, so studying with bae can actually be healthier for the two of you as long as you don’t get too distracted.

Treat yo’ self

Treat yourself to downtime that doesn’t include drinking. Some Carolina students make the mistake of booking every moment of their time for sleeping, eating, studying and partying. Be sure to schedule yourself some time to watch TV, call your mom (she will love that), or do something weird but apparently calming like crocheting.

Don’t try to do too much

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Don’t try to spread yourself too thin. This is the time of year all those listservs are lighting up. Don’t be afraid to say no to a new obligation or club this semester. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends you need a night in or to drop the extra class that seems like it will be way too much work.

Most stress isn’t necessary, so don’t pick up that extra stress just for the ability to say you’re doing something you would’ve been fine without. You will thank yourselves – and maybe me – later. P.S. I like cash gifts and expensive shoes.

You have the rest of the semester

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Remember, you have the rest of the semester to establish good habits. New Year’s resolutions never work because most people try to pick up a habit too quickly without laying the foundation for a lifestyle change.

Like losing weight, getting organized and living with less stress takes time. Take small steps every day to reduce stress more and more as the days go on. Start with a small change like checking your bag and wallet at night rather than rushing in the morning.

Then, try to include a planner into your daily routine. An action takes 21 days to become a habit, so don’t feel discouraged. One day, you’ll be highlighting your planner, wearing a fitbit 24/7 and counting the daily glasses of water you drink.