Reflecting on first term
Looking back at my first term as a second-year Economics student, the one thing I can say is that it has been totally unexpected. From start to finish, it has been a completely different experience than I imagined last year and that’s not just because of the pandemic. Granted, a lot of the changes have been due to the pandemic so maybe it is but if I go on a “what could have been” tangent, maybe it might have been the same way. For me personally, this term was quite hard and I think there have been a lot of changes that I am slowly trying to adjust to and was struggling with. This Christmas break has come at a nice time and has allowed me to relax, reflect and rejuvenate so, when term starts again, I’m hoping it’ll be easier, or at least, I’ll know how to handle things better.
Firstly, I’ve struggled with balancing my workload, especially when so much of my time was spent just studying from my room. I think, as has been the case for most people, I’ve needed a bit of time to adjust to work/study from home as it really blurs the lines. Under normal circumstances, it was easy to separate my academics from my extracurriculars and my social life. With lockdowns and changing restrictions and living off-campus, I found it harder to keep these parts of my life separate. Staying in my room all the time (or at least, most of the time) made it harder to focus and with the move to online learning (as well as the jump to second year!), I felt like my uni workload had suddenly become so much heavier. I’ve written about how online learning works and while I’ve also shared tips for how to navigate it, I think I’ve found it hard myself. Some of this could just be second year workload but I’ve definitely felt a change from last year and with everything being remote, it’s also been hard to keep in touch with coursemates and find that support from each other.
With that being said, I don’t think everything was hard or that I struggled with all aspects of uni life. This was my first year living off campus and I’ve really enjoyed living in Leamington with one of my best friends! While the restrictions have dampened my social life, I’ve still found ways to connect and meet my friends and through the societies I’m involved in, I’ve also met some new people and established relationships. It’s definitely been harder to meet new people because last year, I could just talk to people in my lectures or on campus and that’s obviously not the case this year but societies have really stepped up their game and are all trying to adapt socials online to try to give the same experience. I’ve enjoyed all the online socials I’ve been to and it’s been a great way to be in touch while following the rules.
What I’ve learned from my first term is that I really need to plan my time but more importantly, stick to these plans! With a larger workload and my society commitments and of course all the work that comes with living alone, I feel like I need to plan out my day to the T and work on minimizing distractions. One of the biggest distractions for me was my bed! My room was where I had to study/work but also relax so it was very easy to take a break by going on my bed and scrolling through Instagram or watching an episode on Netflix but that can quickly turn into a long break. I think as a lesson for term 2, I need to have some semblance of separation between work and play so that I can do both to the fullest. What might also help me is having accountability so I’m going to try to do more group study sessions with my friends, so that we can motivate each other.
This term has definitely been a learning curve but with the new year just around the corner, I’m ready to get back in the groove! These Christmas holidays have given me a good chance to take a break and completely relax so that when term starts again, I can be better than before. Here’s to a much better 2021!