How to survive the stress of being an optometry student

Raven Sinnathamby, second year student at University of Portsmouth has some wise words for those of you embarking on exam revision.

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The only thing tougher than being a student is being an optometry student! Trying to manage your assignments, exams, lectures, labs, and clinics can be a daunting task. Here are five tips to help you take control of your stress:

  1. Start revision early. Exams are stressful in itself. Whether you’re a seasoned student, or in your first year of undergraduate studies, there is nothing more stressful than cramming for an exam. Optometry is full of new terminology and skills. Making time to review a little every day is a lot easier than trying to memorize months of material the day before a big test. In regard to OSCEs, take advantage of open labs. Refining your clinical skills takes practice; there’s no way around it!
  2. Lists. Making lists can help increase your productivity. Not only does it serve as a visual reminder, but it is also very rewarding to cross things off of! Whether it’s lectures you need to review, assignments you have yet to start, or a shopping list for the weekly food run at Tesco, lists can help you prioritise your tasks and organise your time.
  3. Take naps! Unfortunately, not all of us are as amazing as Drake (who claims not to take naps…). Early lectures and late-night studying can leave students feeling sleep deprived and fatigued. It has also been shown that sleep deprivation is associated with higher levels of stress hormones. Power naps, which should last between 20 and 30 minutes, are believed to improve alertness, mood, and performance. Yay for more sleep!
  4. Exercise. Besides the obvious health benefits, exercising can help you de-stress. When you exercise, your body releases hormones called endorphins, which can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety. No time for exercise? A one hour work-out accounts for only 4% of your day!
  5. Spend time with friends and family. While being an optometry student can take up a lot of your time, it’s important to stay connected to those you love. While this might come in the form of a cheeky Nando’s dinner or a three-hour FaceTime call, it’s imperative that you put aside your studies to focus on life outside of university.


Raven Sinnathamby
Student rep, Portsmouth University

Raven is a second year student at the University of Portsmouth. Her favourite thing about studying optometry is seeing (no pun intended) how theory relates to the practical nature of the course. When Raven isn’t in lectures or open lab, you can find her at the local Starbucks. If she wasn’t an optometry student, she would likely be working in research or elsewhere in the healthcare sector.


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