Ask a Counsellor….

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Each issue, Freeman Woolnough, a personal and career counsellor at UNBSJ, will be answering your questions about life, the universe, and everything. Have a question/concern? Send it to and it could be featured in an upcoming issue—all questions are anonymous. Potential topics include navigating relationships (romantic, family, friends, etc.), stress management, how to ‘deal’ with concerns about friends, grief/loss, eating issues, sleep issues, career planning, and much more.

This Week’s Question:

I’m feeling overwhelmed by my classes, and the add/drop date has already passed – How am I going to survive?? Help!

Feeling overwhelmed is fairly common for university students, but it definitely isn’t a very fun mental space to be in. Try to clarify what exactly is overwhelming you. The schedule? The type/number of assignments? The difficulty of the courses? Balancing work/family with academics? Narrowing down the issue can often help in starting to get your thoughts back on track and away from ‘holy $%#@, what am I doing??’ thinking.

Also, keep in mind that even though the add/drop deadline has passed, you can still withdraw from a course. There is no academic penalty if you withdraw before Oct. 29, and you may even get part of your fees returned!

If you are still planning to continue with your current schedule, try to remind yourself of why you chose to take these courses; this can often motivate you to keep focused in difficult times. Also, be wary of falling into unhealthy behaviours (such as late night junk food or sleeping through a class). It is very easy for these behaviours to become habit, affecting an entire semester before you realize it.

Finally, never shy away from accessing the resources available to you on campus (you already pay for them with your student fees!). The student development coordinator ( works with students to help develop time management strategies, as well as appropriate study methods–even if you are doing well, she can still help you to improve academically. Counsellors are also available ( to listen to your concerns and to help you develop strategies that will work best for you. If things are becoming overwhelming, never feel that you have to handle them alone.

Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.