Getting Comfortable with Feeling Uncomfortable

University work never ends. there is always more reading that can be done or more questions to be practiced. Topics have multiple sub-topics and each niche brings with it a pile of more work. This week, blogger Iona explores how we can manage this university work.

By Iona Craig

I remember my own experience of starting university and feeling completely overwhelmed by the amount of work I had to complete. Not only was there a completely new way of teaching, but the vast amount of content to handle for each lecture made previous school revision methods no longer applicable. Each week I’d tell myself that next week I’d have a better handle of it all, but every Sunday night I was left with the same ever-growing to do list to reattempt finishing the following week. As I now work through my final year, I have come to realise there are a few changes that can be made to cope with the amount of uni work in an effective and minimal stress way.


This one is true across the board of life; school and university work. However, there are several ways prioritising can be of use. The first step is to create a list of all the work you have to do (this can be applicable to other jobs that need done too). After completing this, begin to categorise and order the items based on which are due soonest or are longest and hence need starting sooner rather than later. Depending on how many close deadlines you have will determine in what order you then prioritise the tasks. If you have a lot of deadlines fast approaching it’s best to do things in the order they are due. However, if there are no deadlines or the deadlines are a bit further in the future, then begin with the task which you find least appealing. This way, as motivation dwindles throughout the day and week, you’ll have easier and more appealing tasks to complete.

Picture: Ivan Samkov

Appreciate the To-Do List

It’s easy to build a hatred for the ever growing to do list of work, but a mindset change can help us with this. If you didn’t have a to-do list at all, how would you spend your days? Would this be productive or useful? Can you see any benefit in the structure that the to do list offers you? How would you feel if you had nothing to complete? At initial thought it might be easy to say it would be bliss being to-do list free, however trying to find the positives in having things to do, such as a sense of purpose or working towards a goal, can be useful in getting through the university workload.

Picture: Polina Kovalena

Feel Comfortable Amongst Feeling Overwhelmed

Long lists of work can feel overwhelming to the point you can’t seem to get any of the work done. Learning to feel comfortable in the space of overwhelmingness is a skill not only useful for coping with workload, but in life in general. You can begin to do this by first identifying that you are feeling overwhelmed and secondly, deciding how you want to react to this feeling. Circumstances don’t need to dictate how we feel, we can decide that. Allow yourself to begin to feel comfortable with lots of work going on. Allow yourself to relax during the process of completing the to-do list and maybe even enjoy it and seek support if you are feeling stuck in a state of anxiety. There are many avenues of support available, including your personal tutor, the Residential Life Team, or Wellbeing Support Services.

University work can feel like a lot but with practice you can feel comfortable in the midst of the workload and begin to enjoy the feeling of being uncomfortable.

If you’d like more support with dealing with your workload, have a look at our post on How to Eat the Elephant of Your Workload, or why not try to Bullet Journal your Way to Success. You can also browse all our posts over on the Contents page.

How do you manage your university workload? Leave your top tips for fellow readers in the comments below, on Twitter @warwicklibrary, or you can email us at

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