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Desk cluttered with study notes

Handling Exam Stress

It’s exam season for students in New Zealand and Matthew Le, a business student at the University of Auckland, is stressed.

Matt wrote this blog at the end of semester 2 in his first year of university. 

It’s 9:28PM on a Tuesday. I am writing this from Kate Edgars IC (Information Commons) - the computer area belonging to the University of Auckland.

My first exam is on Thursday (business). The next one (statistics) is on Friday. Followed by a law exam next Monday.

Find information about how assessments work in New Zealand on NauMai NZ.

It’s exam season. And I’m stressed.

handling exam stress meme 1125x700

Fried brain, sore eyes, aching back with 3 cans of Red Bull and a half-finished bowl of noodle soup from Munchie Mart. When will this ever stop? Tonight’s gonna be a long night. I still have 15 law lecture recordings to go through with every word of the lecturer being a lullaby soothing me to bed.

From memory, I haven’t been a bad student this semester. Showing up to class quite regularly with every assignment handed in on time.

Always taking time every weekday to finish my homework after class.

Desk cluttered with study notes

Then, why is there still so much to do?

How can I overcome this? I mean, how could I? How could I possibly pass this semester and keep my scholarship?

I’m failing for sure.

Urgh… I’m so done :(


*Stood up and went to the bathroom*

*Washed my face*

*Came back*

*Cleaned my trash-filled desk and sat down*

It’s OK, Matt. Take it easy on yourself. There’s no point beating yourself up now.

At this very moment, it doesn’t matter what you did in the past - it doesn’t matter how much time you wasted bingeing YouTube or pretending to check emails.

All that matters is where will you go from here. Yeah, that’s right. Ask yourself the question: “What are you gonna do to make the best out of this crappy situation that you have gotten yourself into?”

After all, this stress is a part of the student experience - which you might never get to feel again. So… embrace this :)

Again, after all - you still have 3 hours before this place closes. Let’s make the most out of this!

International student Matthew studying for exams in New Zealand

It’s 2:49PM on a Tuesday.

I am writing this, again, from Kate Edgars IC - the computer area at the University of Auckland.

One thing has changed though.

I have officially finished all of my exams :) This morning exam was philosophy - crushed it! The homestretch was very much worth it.

How I am feeling? Happy. Ecstatic. Wanting-to-celebrate. No, not really. I feel like: I’m gonna miss this place a lot after today.

This was, technically, my home for the past few months.

Honestly, I spent much more time here than I did at home.

8am-8pm everyday - that’s 12 hours a day. 5 days a week. (Man, if that was my job, I’d have earned like crazy!)

Would I have done anything differently though? No. Absolutely not. But I do want to give my-past-self a few advice:

Your health is way more important than the exams. Take good care of it.

Stick to the Pomodoro studying method. It works!


(This one for future-Matt): Love yourself when the results come out - after all, you have done your very best.

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matthew le study in new zealand blog

By Matthew Le"Get up, dress up, show up. Never give up! Urgh, scratch that. I'm just trying to GROW UP"

Updated 2 years ago

Hey, I’m Matthew. Born and raised in Vietnam. I spent the last 2 years in high school here in New Zealand. And now, I’m an international student at the University of Auckland.

I am turning 19 soon. And I don’t like that. So… I’ve decided to live the last few months of being 18 by the "Theory of YES". Saying YES to things that scare the heck out of me.

You can follow my journey here on the Study in New Zealand blog, or on Facebook @studyinnewzealand

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
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