Essays. Deadlines. Presentations. Essays. Deadlines. Essays. Essays. Essays.
Life at university is tough. It’s supposed to be, of course – if degrees were worthless then they’d give them away (and at £27,000 they certainly don’t do that, do they?).
I know when I was at uni, I did that silly thing that I know a lot of students do – leave everything to the last minute. I did this every single time. The rush, the panic, the all-nighters. Sheesh. The stress I put myself under nearly killed me.
I see it now kind of like I see booze. At the time, every night I got drunk I would say to myself in the morning: Never again.
And these were the exact same words that I would utter after handing in every essay just in time. Never again, I’d tell myself. Next time I’ll make sure that I start well in advance.
As I say, I know I was not the only person in my year to continuously make this same mistake over and over and over (and the irony that I was studying the Theatre of the Absurd was not lost on me). But, by comparison to some of the others, I actually left myself plenty of time.
You see – last minute for me meant starting my essay about 2 weeks before the deadline. That’s how long it would take me to put out something that I was happy with. But I know that for some other people, last minute meant literally that – i.e. starting the thing only the night before or even on the morning of the deadline.
I remember thinking to myself – these guys are crazy!! And they were.
The problem of course is that the more work that you’ve got to do, the harder it is to know where to start, so in the end you end up not doing any of it – until that deadline looms so close that you’re sort of shocked into making a start, and somehow you manage to blag it.
This, of course, is a very stress-filled existence in which to live, and a lot of you might very well be hitting the local Wetherspoons in order to distract yourself from the pressing problem at hand. Of course, this is not the solution, but it’s understandable if that’s what you find yourself doing.
What they try to tell you when you get offered a place at uni is that studying for a degree is a full-time job. However, in our excitement, we don’t tend to listen to that. We think we can handle it – juggle a full-time social life on top of a full-time degree and possibly a part-time job as well.
In reality, this is a little too much to handle. And so, the best piece of advice that I could give you would be to not get stuck in a rut in the first place, start as you mean to go on, and generally be smart. You have got time to party and work and study – you just cannot prioritise any one over the others.
And I mean that. University is about the social side as much as it is about the academic side – and so I’m not going to sit here and tell you different. You do need to do both, and possibly fit in a part-time job as well. But this is stressful. I know it is. Hell – now I write essays (well, blogs) for a living, and so my whole life seems like one short deadline after another. But I’ve finally learned (just like I’ve learned with drinking, actually) not to do it again. Not to leave everything to the last minute, but to try and get myself well ahead of the game right from the start.
So now I’m going to give you 3 actionable tips that I believe will help you battle the stress of a busy life and heavy workload. Here goes.
The silly thing is, at uni, we all know what we’ve got to do weeks or sometimes even months in advance – yet still we let this loom in the back of our minds until it’s almost too late.
If I was to go back and do it all again (and I do actually plan to further my education at some point in my life, as it happens), then I know exactly what I’d do. As soon as my lecturer set the questions, I’d head straight to the library and start reading. Think about it – you’ve probably got a t least 4 weeks to write your assignment – so start work on it now. Let it become a part of your active, learning life at uni, and not suppress it to the back of your mind in the hope that it will either go away or that someone else will come along and do it for you. It won’t, and they won’t. That’s just the fact.
Secondly, I’d try and get a first draft done at least a fortnight before the deadline. This way I’d have time to show it to lecturers and peers, get some feedback, and in the end come up with a much better piece of work, knowing that those last two weeks would be dedicated to perfecting my work, instead of blindly rushing through it.
Mid-week sessions are fun, but they mess up your whole week of work. Getting drunk on a Tuesday will mean that you can forget about Wednesday as you recover, which in turn will result in you losing your momentum for Thursday and Friday, at which point you’ll be headed down to the student bar once more.
Party, by all means, yes. But just leave it till the weekend, and dedicate Monday to Friday for your studies. This way you can do both.
I meditate for 20 minutes once a week on a Friday morning with a few friends. I’m not Buddhist, and I don’t pray to or believe in any gods. But, that’s not the point of meditation. For 20 minutes, once a week, I sit down in a quiet room with my eyes closed and just relax.
That’s what it’s all about. Relaxation. They say that you’re supposed to try and clear your mind whilst meditating. Personally I find it hard to do that, so instead I do the opposite – I put in order everything that I’ve got to do over the coming week. I sort out any personal or relationship battles that I might be going through in my head as well, and put them to one side.
Personally, I find meditation to be one of the best ways to get control of your own mind – and if you can do that, then you can win the battle of stress. In fact, I think I’m going to have a little relaxation time now.
Good luck with all of your work, people. It is a stressful time of your young lives, but you will get through it, and end up where you want to be.
Studying is all about getting yourself in the right frame of mind for extended periods of concentration. Lots of different people do this in lots of different ways, and so there are no hard and...Read more
You will no doubt have been shouted at to keep your things – your room, your clothes, your dishes, your washing – clean and tidy your whole life. Right from the moment we are born,...Read more
Living with people ain’t easy. That’s just a fact. You will remember how many arguments you’ve had with your siblings over the years. They’re your own flesh and blood, and yet there have been countless...Read more
There are certain milestones in your life that pave the way to adulthood (and then right on through to the grave, but let’s not worry about those yet). Each one is surrounded by its own...Read more