University can be stressful. It’s as simple as that.
I still remember someone telling me that university is easier than A Levels. I still smile when I think back to it. It really isn’t – it’s just a different type of challenge.
You’re still on an emotional rollercoaster. You might be ecstatic every time you solve a particularly difficult problem or manage to find a piece of information that’ll take your essay to a whole new level. You could be tense as you see time sliding away. You might feel nervous or terrified that all you’ve done won’t be enough once exam season sets in.
Don’t let this dissuade you from pursuing your degree though. Looking back, having graduated this year, I wouldn’t have decided to give any of it up or choose another degree.
And thinking about it, that fear and stress might be a good thing. It means that you care about what you’re doing, that the experience matters.
Now, it’s just about how you prepare for it. So, here are some tips to look after yourself while studying for your degree.
About a year ago, I was talking about how tired I was. My little sister just looked at me and said something along the lines of ‘If you’re tired, go to sleep’. This advice still makes me smile. It sounds so simple, so rational.
But when you’re studying and trying to get all the work done. It’s a lot easier said than done. The temptation to pull an all-nighter just so you can finish the topic is very strong.
But what I began to realise was that when I did this - cut down on sleep to study - my productivity the next day, if not the next week, dropped substantially. I found it harder to focus. I started to get very frustrated with my work. It became easier to procrastinate. And in the end I really didn’t get that much studying done. So, I learned to do what my sister said. When I was tired, I slept. I’d get an earlier night and get the work done the next day.
This is something else that I had to get used to. When you’re studying you tend to think that taking a break is a non - starter. But what I learnt was that taking short frequent breaks really helped me to absorb the information. It’s hard to get back to work when you start something else. So I got into a habit of putting some music on, plugging on my headphones and walking up and down the living room. Believe it or not, this helped a lot!
Get out and away
This links to point 2 but I think it’s important enough that it needs a separate heading. Get out and away; from work, from studies, all of it. Just get up at the end of the week and go out. The reason for this doesn’t have to be anything big or fancy; you don’t even need to see anyone. Just go down to the mall and do some window shopping, or grab a coffee from the café. This is really important and it allows you to relax, de-stress and regain your wits, especially when exam season is coming up!
I hope these points help, and I wish you good luck with your studies!
Iman studied the BSc in Politics and International Relations in Pakistan.