Take A Deep Breath
As we enter Week 8 of term, everything seems to pile up. At least personally and I’m sure this is the case for most people, these last three weeks are the busiest period of the term. With most modules doing end-of-term tests or essays, academically, there is a lot to do. Besides that, in terms of careers and internship applications, this is also a very busy time because many application deadlines are approaching (or have passed and so it’s time for interviews!). What I’ve described so far is the case for a normal year and for 2020, adding on coronavirus and being in the second lockdown, anyone can imagine how stressful and hard this period of the year is.
I, for example, have got 3 tests and 2 assignments due in the next 3 weeks with all of these being summative and as a 2 year student, it all counts as well. I’d be lying if I said I am not already stressed about the prospect of getting all my revision and work done but I am trying not to let it get to me and that’s what I’m writing about today. As I’ve mentioned, it’s a stressful time for all but I think it’s also important to look at the bigger picture and to think about the time you will have once you’re done (the Christmas break ahhh!).
The main thing I want to say is, if you feel like you are behind, in any aspect of uni life, be it academics, social life, careers or extracurriculars, don’t worry. Not to invalidate your feelings but let me assure you that most people are or were in the same boat. Especially with academics, it has been harder to cope this year, with everything going online. In my experience, I have found that the workload is much higher, as there are both asynchronous and synchronous lectures to go through. Or perhaps this is an effect of going to 2 year, as that has definitely changed the number of assessments I have. Regardless, I have been struggling and I think that is the first step – accepting when you are going through something and understanding that it is okay to feel this way. Given the situation this year, I think it’s very important to not beat yourself (or myself) up about being behind or not being in complete control of everything.
Secondly, something I dealt with last year as a fresher was the pressure in terms of careers. At Warwick, especially in economics (which is what I study), everyone was very motivated in terms of their future careers and goals and seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do and how to get there. As an international student, when I arrived, I didn’t know much about spring weeks and more importantly, whether I wanted to do investment banking or consulting etc. I ended up feeling very overwhelmed and left behind because it felt like everyone had a goal and purpose they were working towards. I heard of people with 5 spring weeks and trying to figure out which ones they could actually do whereas I was not even sure which ones I wanted to apply to. I did end up applying, although rather late in the application cycle and I secured an internship so things worked out in the end but even if I hadn’t, I would have been fine. The reason spring weeks are so encouraged is mainly because it makes it easier to get a summer internship for the summer after second year but you will still be fine if you didn’t get a spring week. For all the first years out there, if you are going through something similar to what I did last year, try to relax and focus on your own priorities without comparing yourself to others. Of course, if you want to apply but are unsure of how to go about – there are many, many resources on campus from the careers office to societies specifically for different industries. If you’re a woman, do check out Warwick Women’s Careers Society – we provide guidance and support for careers across several industries, from banking and consulting to tech and sustainability and many more!
The other thing I wanted to discuss was mental health and how the circumstances this year might have affected it. Being in lockdown means we are meeting very few people regularly and with lectures all being online, it can often be the case that you spend several days at home, studying remotely. I can say that I, for one, have been struggling more in terms of mental health this year and it has been quite hard sometimes. Again, I’m not alone in feeling this way and the same goes for you. It can be hard to acknowledge it but always reach out for help! Whether this means going to Wellbeing services or talking to your personal tutor or even just catching up with an old friend, I think what each person needs and what can help each person differs, so find something that makes you happy (or at least lifts you up when you are down!) For me, I try to listen to music or watch something that could cheer me up, as well as, just reaching out to my friends and family to talk. Of course, you can ask for help by going to Wellbeing services or any Pastoral support that your department might provide.
I hope this blog has helped in some way and as always, feel free to reach out to me to talk about anything! I want to end by saying, keep going, we can all do this and the Christmas break is right around the corner!