“New year new me!!!” Probably not going to happen when the clock strikes 2021, but with the term ending in December it is a good idea to think about some new year resolutions – Uni related!
Stick to a schedule
I know it sound boring to look up all the classes, assignments, deadlines … but it will help you to get through the term with less stress and better grades. Even if it is hard for you to stay organised, there must be a method that will work for you. No matter if you stick to a virtual calendar or use a colour coding system on a paper calendar, you should definitely have a calendar. It is not necessary to plan every minute of your day, but in the calendar, there should be all the important dates that are related to your uni courses. It is just not fun to wake up a day before a deadline to realise, you forgot about it completely. Better to plan ahead and work rather a bit on more days, than day and night the week before.
If you want to go a little further, plan your week. Put activities like sports or meet-ups with friends in the calendar and then stick to it. I have this mantra “if it is in my calendar it is going to happen” and I live by it, so personally it is hard for me to stay flexible to changes. Maybe you do not have to be as extreme as I am with scheduling but being a little organised is always a good idea when it comes to uni work.
I may have just come across as a workaholic and trust me, I definitely am. It is easier said than done to really take time out for yourself to socialise, workout or simply destress and do nothing. Even though one should be committed to their studies, it is not necessary to spend 12 hours a day at a desk to work for uni. It is more about spending efficient hours (not scrolling through your phone every two minutes) than a whole day procrastinating. The more concentrated you are working on your assignments, the faster you will be done and be able to enjoy some free time. We are lucky enough to live by the beach and personally I think a week without being at the beach is a waste of time.
Study breaks are important throughout the day, at least every 90 minutes there should be a break with no more than six hours of focussed studying. It can be hard to take your mind off the pressure of getting things done as quickly as possible, but you should rely on your planning and trust yourself, that you started early enough to be done in time (this refers to my first point – scheduling!). Reading a non-uni related book, going for a walk or a hike, enjoying nature or working out is as important as doing course work, for our mental and physical health. Our mind lives in our body the same as our body lives in our home. We do not trash our home, so we should not trash our bodies either. Everyone has personal limits and boundaries, and they should not be neglected for the sake of anything.
Enjoy your studies
No one should suffer during their degree. If you are unhappy with your course or degree choice, reach out to your school support staff! They can help you find alternatives, that may suit you better. Of course, you will not love every second of every course you will ever do, I certainly did not enjoy every class of my degree, but I still love my degree overall. I am motivated to work for it, and I find my readings interesting. There will always be good and bad days but your time at uni should be enjoyable. If there is anything non-academic which is bothering you, our uni has a great student welfare support team and you can reach out to them as well. Enjoying your studies also means hanging out with friends, joining a club and doing non-academic activities that you love and that you have the opportunity to do while having time-freedom at uni. We should all look back at our studies and say, that it was a pleasant experience and that we overall enjoyed it, even if it was hard sometimes!
Keep in mind for 2021:
Taking a break is crucial.
Plan in time for coursework.
Love what you do.