Making the most of this semester: Student life
It has probably been a couple of months since you started your course and you are midway through it. Maybe, you just finished a set of exams and are soon gearing up for your finals. The first semester can whizz by with all the academic deadlines and adjusting to a new life. This might be a good time to pause and reflect on how the last few months have been and think of what you would like the next few to be like. Although student life can be a bit difficult to manage initially, there are ways to reduce the stress and make the most of this time.
What’s right vs what’s wrong
It’s so easy to be all focused on the stress of uni (of course where is the time to think of anything else!) and lose track of what’s actually going well. Day to day things like just going out for a nice meal, being happy for the opportunity to study at university, or having a friendship we cherish might be small (but sometimes great) things in our lives.
We can practice gratitude by writing a list of things we are grateful for or things that went well during the day, or simply reminding ourselves of the very basic things we have but sometimes overlook, like health, shelter, food etc. It can help us keep a positive frame of mind and motivate us to do more.
As simple as it may sound, being in the present moment might take some pressure off us. None of us has seen the future and we probably cannot change the past (although we might really like to!). What we do have, however is now. One way of focusing on the now is to be aware of the thoughts that cross our minds and simply notice them without judging or acting on them.
Over time, we can slowly allow these thoughts to pass without internalizing them. We have a choice to take them in and believe the thoughts or let them go by. This is a practice called mindfulness. It takes time to develop this process of allowing thoughts to pass, but it might be totally worth the try! So, carpe diem, or, seize the moment!
Breaking it down
Life can feel a bit overwhelming at times (well that’s student life for you!) So much to do, so much to study, so many commitments and pressure! What might be helpful is to break things down into small chunks. So, for example, if you have an essay to submit, you can break it down into small sections and only think of doing one section at a time rather than the whole essay. This can make it seem more manageable and less overwhelming.
This can be applied to most things in life, whether it is cooking a meal or getting ready for uni! In this way, setting small goals can also give us a sense of achievement as well as motivation to complete the rest of the task. So, when things look like a huge obstacle, let’s take it one little step at a time.
Time for ‘me’
With the busy-ness of uni life, we might forget ourselves in the process. Our minds are focused on what we need to get done and we might overlook how we really are in the process. We all unwind and de-stress in different ways. Some of us prefer a walk in nature, meditation or listening to music. Others might like going out for coffee with close friends or just watching netflix. Whatever be your go-to thing, scheduling in some time for yourself can be a real breather. It may feel like one additional thing to do, or that you are wasting your precious time on something other than studying but self-care can actually rejuvenate us and help us study better. Give it a try and see how it makes you feel.