College Archives - Jigsaw

How to stop stressing about exams

It’s not unusual to feel a bit stressed as it comes up to exam time. This can be a good thing sometimes as it motivates us to study. 

For some of us though, exam stress can really interfere with our day-to-day lives and hinder work and concentration levels.

Covid-19 brought about many changes for everyone. Students, in particular, were heavily impacted by the closure of schools and colleges, and this hasn’t helped the last few years.

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Studying at home

Uncertainty around exams and missing out on experiences has left many young people feeling frustrated. Many students can find themselves procrastinating or losing sight of their end goals.

Take comfort in knowing that learning how to self-direct your study is a skill for life.

Below, find a helpful conversation between Evelyn O’Rourke from RTÉ Radio 1 Drive Time’s Study Hub and Jen Trzeciak, eMental Health Manager at Jigsaw, about ways for students to stay motivated to study in a time of uncertainty around exams and school.

Here are some more strategies to help you stay motivated when studying from home:

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Starting college in 2021

There’s a big emphasis placed on starting college. It’s a chance to make new friends, pursue your own interests, and increase your independence.

But as with many things in the last 18 months, that experience could be quite different now. The pandemic has changed a lot of ways of life, with one of the biggest impacts being on education.

Colleges are due to open for on-site education in the academic year 2021-2022. Though while some restrictions remain in place, college might still present challenges.

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Getting used to self-guided study

Due to Covid-19, many experienced periods of on-again, off-again classes and remote learning for school and college. 

For some subjects, this can be OK. Others create more challenges. Either way, increased self-motivation was required from students to engage with this way of learning.

In this article, you will find:

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Ask Jigsaw: Missing out on college experience


Lately I’ve been feeling very down and not being able to feel positive. I’m a college student, but haven’t been able to move away from home because of the virus. I live in a rural area where I don’t know many people and I feel very isolated. Many of my friends have moved away and are having fun in student accommodation.

I feel as if the “best years” of my life are wasting away before me and I am not getting the college experience. My last year in college starts next year. I am afraid that it will too be wasted with restrictions and having no social life. I am the youngest in my family and when I compare my college experience to my siblings it upsets me, as I feel as if I will never get that.

Being stuck at home, bored and lonely has made me feel constantly down, anxious and stressed. I know that nothing can be done to change my circumstances, but how can I help myself to feel some happiness. Thanks 



Hi Lulu17,

Your reaction to the Covid-19 restrictions is something we have heard from many young people. Being unable to move away for the college year feels unfair, and I can understand why you are feeling anxious and feeling down at home.

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Ask Jigsaw: Stress of college from home

Hi Jigsaw, 
I have just found out that all of my college lectures will be online. As a result, I will not be moving out. I’m very stressed and upset about this. I feel living with my family has resulted in the deterioration of my mental health. I can’t talk to my parents about it, as they are the source of this stress. Also I will very rarely see my friends. Any recommendations on managing this?


Hi Disa22,  

College life will be very different this year. We’ve heard from many young people who are feeling disappointment, stress, and anger because they are missing out on experiences that everyone else took for granted.   

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Starting college during a pandemic

Ross, 18, a Jigsaw volunteer from Offaly, talks about starting college this year.

Like any young person, or any person at all in Ireland in 2020, it’s safe to say life has been anything but normal since March. Going from “schools are closed for two weeks”, to finding out that the culmination of 12 years of schoolwork, the Leaving Cert, was now cancelled, was an emotional rollercoaster.

The relief from finally getting a concrete answer gave room to thinking more about college and my concerns about third-level education in the world’s current state.


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