Returning to Uni: A Refresher Guide
After a month-long Christmas break, it can be difficult to adapt back into a solid routine of going to campus and attending contact hours once again. I’ve found that even the first day back has already been pretty exhausting, despite the fact that I’ve been doing the exact same thing at home in terms of writing essays and researching. When I reflected (10 minutes ago) on why this was, I realised it’s probably because 1. University computers don’t allow me to watch multiple consecutive episodes of Friends during my breaks, and 2. I’m in a completely different environment to what I’m used to being in for a month. I’ve realised over the past couple of years at Warwick that it will always be a little disorientating to go straight back into things after the holidays have ended, especially if your mind is refusing to want to stop chilling at home in pyjamas for a week straight. So, if you’re wondering why you’re finding it hard to get back into the swing of things too, read these tips I’ve devised on how to re-motivate yourself for the term ahead.
Productivity begins with the mind, so prepare your mind for the week and term ahead. I’m a big advocate of taking each day as it comes, and it’s perfectly understandable that not everyone wants to think about the next two terms, because this can seem a little daunting. However, I’ve found it really helpful to set myself personal deadline dates, so that I won’t wake up to 8x 2,500 word essays suddenly due in three days. Recreating a deadline with a clear date in mind will set you on track for your weeks ahead, and make sure you achieve everything you need to eventually complete. If you’re a humanities student, why not use your spare time now to complete longer essays that are due later on in the year? It sounds a bit mad to finish an essay 5 months in advance, but this will relieve a lot of stress when the actual deadline arrives, especially if you also will have exams to focus on in the future. Staying prepared and ahead of time is key, given how easy it is to feel intimidated by your workload.
Another helpful tip is to develop habits. The theory of ego depletion says that we exhaust our willpower by completing tasks throughout the day, each of which take up a portion of our energy. This means that resisting the willpower to do something such as studying at 10-12 every morning will use up a portion of your energy, resulting in eventual tiredness. A good method to reduce this exhaust in willpower is to develop realistic habits which you can actually stick to every day, so that you are not using even more energy than your day-to-day activities require of you. I know how difficult it is to stick to unrealistic plans, and it doesn’t feel great when those plans go unachieved (Ahem, New Years Resolutions), so setting realistic goals is important when making any type of goal/plan. Also, simple things such as laying out an outfit to wear the night before, or cooking meals in bulk, will help you when it comes to putting aside the energy you need for the next day ahead. This trick is very useful with managing time, and it makes it easier to keep up with the crazy workload/everything-else balance.
I hope this information has been useful to you and that implementing these tips will help to make your life easier and bring you less stress as the weeks go by. Good luck!