I was recently speaking to some of my cohort who mentioned they wished they could do this year all over again, and claimed they would do it differently second time round. Unfortunately, we cannot turn back time (cue Cher! Actually, please don’t!) so there is no point regretting the past or wishing for something that will never happen. But, we can always learn from our experiences.
We can reflect on what did or did not work and make sure our actions today help co-create the future we want. For example, wanting higher grades but binge-watching boxsets instead of studying is unlikely to yield the desired results. Making changes therefore requires good habits, but also amiability and forebearance. Because getting upset with yourself when you do not meet expectations is also futile and counterproductive. So, it got me thinking what I would do differently. Obviously quite a bit happened this academic year that was out of my control. But, what about those things within my power to change?
I would definitely be less sedentary. Studying for a degree involves many, many hours staring at computer screens and books. I already start and end each day with exercise. However, during jury service I realised how much better I felt when I walked at lunchtime, too. So, next academic year I will definitely continue walking throughout the day and do more barefoot yoga. It really helps revitalise me if I feel exhausted. (Obviously, I will endeavour to ensure exhaustion is a rare state!)
I will read articles from the computer screen to prevent my education contributing to deforestation. I must admit I do like just submitting electronic copies of assignments.
I am thinking of investing my student loan in a laptop stand and/or separate keyboard and mouse to prevent further neck pain.
I will definitely continue to be ultra organised and get ahead with my workload whenever possible, because that made a massive difference to my mental health, when life threw its curveballs.
Similarly, I will stay in contact with my personal tutor and communicate effectively with my lecturers. Building and maintaining relationships is always important, in my mind.
Next year, I would also like to invest my time to get to know my classmates better from the beginning of the year. But, the nature of being a mature student and a mother is that you usually have somewhere else to be!
Hopefully, I will be available for the societies that I was unable to attend this year. Being my final year, I want to make sure I get the most out of my time at Warwick Uni.
I will continue to breathe and smile, enjoy every moment and learn from my experiences in Higher Education, because I know that this too shall pass. Three years has already flown by soooooo quickly.