Working/revising at home during a pandemic…

Stay at home; the government advice couldn’t be any clearer. Cue people from all four corners of the world scrambling to adapt to studying or working from home, myself included. I’m a postgraduate who over the last couple of weeks has sat my spring semester exams, conveniently timed just as coronavirus began to turn the UK upside down. Cheers 2020! Uni stopped face-to-face teaching a week before I was due to sit them, meaning my exams had to be rapidly adapted to an online format, and done from home. This, combined with moving back to my family home a few days before exams started resulted in a slightly unusual exam season, to say the least!

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“Woah, we’re half-way there”: how to use lessons learnt during your first semester to improve your second

In the words of Jon Bon Jovi, “we’re half-way there”. With exams drawing to a close, we’re half-way through the academic year, and whilst you may wish to banish twelve weeks’ worth of lectures and assessments to the back of your mind, it is important that you don’t. Aside from the obvious need to remember the content of your course, there are further lessons to be learnt from the Autumn semester, and here’s four tips on how to apply these lessons to the Spring Semester:

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Realistic study advice for unmotivated students

I’ve received loads of advice and watched a bunch of videos online on how to become a more productive student but, all of them seemed to have one requirement: an insane work ethic! If you’re like me, I’m a slacker and I realised that those tips do not apply to me. I’d procrastinate by watching videos on “how to stop procrastinating,” then read the comments on other people procrastinating to feel better about myself procrastinating. After watching these videos, I’d feel great and pretend to be this motivated person for a hot minute. I wasn’t following the advice they were giving me because it is unpleasantly difficult! Let’s be real, it can be hard to get out of bed. With my experience of getting into this Russell Group University, surviving first-year, and having my first mental breakdown after 1 assignment, I feel like I have the credentials to give you some of my advice!

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The seminar wallflower – thoughts on contributing more

Picture this, your seminar tutor has just asked the group a question. There is a deafening silence as they await an answer. This time, you have the perfect discussion point that you’ve been contemplating all week. Just as you gain the courage, someone else jumps in. The cycle repeats. Fifty minutes go by and you realise you’ve been a spectator to your peers’ discussion, yet again struggling to contribute. Sharing your thoughts can be daunting for many of us. Especially if you have anxiety. Seminars can be a nightmare for introverts that are scientifically more productive when alone. Alas, seminars and workshops are a part of uni and it can be beneficial for your grades when you begin to feel more comfortable speaking in a group.

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Stress, stress, stress

Exam season is upon us and stress levels are high. In fact, I think stress levels are high throughout the entirety of university. Often we create a link between university and high stress as if the two are one and the same. Students seem to expect to experience stress to such a degree that they accept it as normal and sometimes don’t even notice it. I speak from experience when I say it’s easy to get caught up in a bubble of assignments, deadlines, essays and revision and whilst stress can act as a motivator of sorts, equally it can hinder productivity. The problem in some cases is that students aren’t necessarily aware of the fact that they’re stressed and therefore can’t work towards helping themselves.

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Eat, sleep, revise, repeat

There are certain words and phrases that, as university students, are designed to make our skin crawl:

  • 9am lecture (even though we know that there’s a higher chance of finding a vacant booth in the Diamond than us actually going)
  • Assessed group project (because it’s that much harder, though not impossible, to complete this from the comfort of your own bed)
  • Exam period

And as we enter this dreaded time of prolific procrastination, and if we’re lucky, actual, real, honest-to-god revision, we wave a sad goodbye to every other part of our lives that doesn’t actively correlate with us passing our degrees.

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