TAKE A BREAK, PLEASE
So by now most of us are unfortunately in the thick of exam season, tensions and emotions are at an all-time high, and sleep is at an all-time low. Stress and anxiety are running our timetables, surrounded by the constant guilt that “you’re not studying enough”. Well, I’m here to remind you to go, take, your, break. Learning how to find a work/ life balance is a skill that you’ll need your entire life. While your future employer may not care if you get one bad grade on an exam, they will care if you can’t function during periods of stress or intensive workloads. So here is a little reminder on why prioritizing some downtime is actually more important than pulling another all-nighter for no apparent reason.
Personally, my favourite way to get some “me-time” during exam season is working out. I’ll be at the gym every day without fail even if it’s just for an hour. Other than the physical benefits, it gives your mind a chance to focus on something other than academics, and trust me the post-workout serotonin is worth every second. If the gym isn’t your thing, try going out for walks, there are so many beautiful trails around campus, and connecting with nature is sure to make you smile. These are both twice as good if you share them with a friend, that way you can beat the “not-studying” guilt together.
When I tell you that procrastination baking is a real thing… trust me on it. So many nights our flat kitchen has been filled with brownies, cake, and cookies, simply to avoid studying. However, there is nothing better than taking some time out from studying, whipping up a quick treat, then by the time your practice paper is done you have a snack sat on your desk. The feeling is unmatched. Why not get your flatmates involved and enjoy some time together too!
Now there is nothing I hate more than the night before exams. The debate of leaving it up to fate or cramming in a few more hours seems to battle me every time, but speaking from experience… take a break. Put on some candles, grab a face mask, Netflix, popcorn and chill out. Let your mind absorb all the information you’ve been cramming in and get those precious hours of sleep before all the intense concentrating in the morning.
If you’re the type of person who tries to take a break but ends up going back to studying in 10 minutes because you see your laptop calling you, this one’s for you. GET OUT YOUR ROOM. Grab some friends, get dressed out of your joggers, and go out for a meal or drinks. This way it’s a lot harder to slip back to studying because you’re out of that environment. Plus, food, friends, and some fun are mood boosters whatever the season.
Now this one may be a little different to your usual breaks but it is honestly so adorable. When the sun sets or just before, at golden hour, grab your favourite person (and someone who can take a decent picture) and go for a photoshoot. Find a feed worthy backdrop and go for it, because university is about memories and no one wants to only remember exams. Your Instagram and Tiktok will thank me later.
I know we all write long lists of things to do, but also timetable in your free time and don’t skip it, ever. Being at university won’t end soon for most of us, so remember to live your life as a person not just a student. Stay up to watch the pink moon, play basketball at 3 am, walk for hours in the woods, visit every bar in town, go to Tesco’s at midnight just for cookies, and sleep in till 2pm with no regrets.
Don’t miss the good things now because you’re stressing out on work you’ve already done. You’re only a Uni student once, your exams will go away eventually, but the memories you make here won’t.