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Nia’s Reflection: How I Managed Stress to Study during the Pandemic

Completing Year 12 is stressful enough without the pandemic. So, in this article, Nia shares essential advice to help you manage your stress and anxiety to study through this pandemic.

2020 was a rollercoaster of a year that no one was expecting. So, in this article, Matrix scholarship and St Ursula’s student shares her top tips to manage stress to study during the pandemic for academic success.


About me


Nia Worthington


St Ursula’s Kingsgrove



University Course Goal:

Bachelor of Medicine, UNSW

Dream Career:

My dream career is to become a Dermatologist!


How I Managed Stress to Study during the Pandemic



How COVID affected my school

I am pretty lucky to say that no one in my school reported any cases of COVID. However, as previously mentioned, my school did shut down after Term 1 due to quarantine measures.

My school was extremely supportive in the process. They made sure to communicate regularly with parents to clarify how seniors would continue to learn.

Switching to online learning was admittedly a struggle for, not only my own school community, but for most schools. Learning how to navigate zoom, was a task for both teachers and students and took some time to work through.

In support of this, my school’s ICT department was also very instrumental in assisting teachers, with launching online-learning. Many parents were also able to contact my school’s ICT department, which allowed online-learning to run as smoothly as possible.



How I managed stress to study during the pandemic

Initially, I must admit that I was looking forward to having extended term one holidays. It all seemed too good to be true – to be able to stay at home, get some work done!

But little did I know that staying at home would very soon translate to feeling that every day was the exact same, and that ‘some work’ would in actuality be a very large overload.

On top of this, I was also unable to see friends, despite being able to communicate over social media.

It was definitely getting used to the change of daily routine that took the most getting-used-to.

However, I was able to remain somewhat relaxed during this period, since I was in the comfort of my own home.

Here are some things I did to manage the stress and anxiety during the NSW shutdown period:


1. Communicate with friends and family

Coming outside from my room – where I was practically stationed all day – was a must.

I made sure to first ensure that I was communicating as much as possible with family and friends.


2. Daily exercise

I also made sure to fit in daily walks and exercise.

Exercising provided a great outlet during the shutdown period, since there was practically nothing else!

I was able to clear my mind, and break up my day from what was spent learning in my room.

Exercising also helped me stay focused. It was impossible not to feel sluggish after a day of sitting down with little variation in my room.

So, exercising allowed me to reflect on a day’s worth of learning and take it easy!


3. Strict to-do list

If I could have planned for the pandemic, I would have definitely made my study schedule more realistic.

Remote learning brought a lot of initial challenges – such as the temptation to sleep in until midday.

So, while my sleep schedule has since been affected during remote learning, I still made sure to implement strict daily to-do lists, which (for the most part) I stuck to.

This allowed me to prioritise classwork and stay on top.


4. Take more breaks

While I did stick with my usual method of using to-do lists during COVID, what I wasn’t equipped for was the amount of time I would need for breaks.

Since I wasn’t seeing friends at school, I hadn’t factored in the usual lunch breaks and normal study breaks

So, while many of my study strategies remained the same, I surprisingly had to fit in more breaks during the quarantine period, since I had underestimated how much time I needed to ‘wind-down’ during the day.


5. Matrix+ Online Classes

COVID-19 didn’t really affect my learning until the end of Term 1, when quarantine measures took place.

While it was definitely a challenge to keep up with online school work and assignments, the Matrix+ program allowed me to continue my learning in a thorough and effective manner.

Matrix+ offered in-depth video covering of each week’s content and

It helped me avoid any learning gaps that many other students faced during quarantine.

I was also able to complete Matrix homework as usual, and was able to deepen my understanding of my subject content so that I didn’t experience any serious misunderstandings during remote learning.





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Study habits I would’ve changed in hindsight of 2020

1. Staying on top of my subjects

I definitely would have made sure to stay on top of all my subjects!

Even though I had quite a successful year, I definitely think I crammed a lot of content a few days before exams. This cause a lot of stress.

While it is possible to do this in your Junior Years…

The amount of content you learn in Senior Years is almost ten times that of Year 10!

It is therefore impossible to master all the content you have been taught in a matter of one or two weeks even.


2. Getting enough sleep

I would have made sure to more effectively stay on top of my Matrix and schoolwork commitments by maintaining a healthy, normal sleep schedule and not succumbing to the temptation of staying up all night.

This would have made both my Term 1 and Christmas holidays very different, since I also spent these holidays sleeping in and staying up late.

Remember, a lot of silly mistakes can stem from a poor nights sleep!

My advice is to have the same sleep schedule for every weeknight, so you can develop a healthy sleep rhythm.

Maintaining health is the biggest key to school success, and I cannot stress the importance of this!


3. Prioritise Matrix resources when taking notes

As a Matrix Scholarship student, I complete the Matrix English, Maths, Chemistry and Physics course.

While I have made the most of it by ensuring to complete homework and revise content to the best of my ability… I also made quite ineffective notes on the content.

My method of making Matrix notes was to combine it with my textbook and school materials – which is a lot!

This would result in my notes being excessively long.

It is important to keep in mind that Matrix resources provide an extremely in-depth, syllabus targeted understanding of content. So, there is no need to make notes on school textbooks as well!

I would therefore have prioritised my Matrix resources when taking notes, to use them to my advantage!




My highest point of the year: Volunteering

My highest point of this year was definitely getting involved with a number of volunteer organisations.

Despite the chaotic circumstances, I was able to spend a lot of my time volunteering for non-profit organisations, such as one in particular that assists disadvantaged primary-school kids in developing imaginative and creative writing skills.

Making a difference to the lives of these young people definitely was one of my biggest achievements!



Final thoughts

This year has definitely been a challenge!

But I honestly think it has taught humanity a lot, and that we will never be the same because of it – as dramatic as this sounds.

While these are definitely trying times, this is just another one of humanity’s challenges and has honestly made me feel as though the challenges I previously faced were nothing of the like.

The pandemic has definitely allowed me to become aware of the persistence and awareness necessary to overcoming challenges.

In the meantime, staying healthy, communicating with family and friends and staying on top of study and work commitments are definitely the biggest priorities for success 🙂



Read more of Nia’s articles here:





Written by Guest Author

We have regular contributions to our blog from our Tutor Team and high performing Matrix Students. Come back regularly for these guest posts to learn their study hacks and insights!


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