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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Finishing a PhD (or trying to)!

It is coming around to the half way mark of the PhD academic year, which means for some final year PhD students, it is only 6 months to go until the end of their degree.

Now this can be a scary thought for some, or a relief for others, but it is seen by many as potentially the most stressful part of the 3 or 4 years of a PhD. You have to complete a thesis (basically writing a book), potentially write a paper or two, all whilst trying to figure out what you want to do once you have finished. And for those who know what job they want, it is just a case of finding someone who will pay you to do said job!

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Use your voice

University Mental Health Awareness Day is this week and the theme is ‘Use Your Voice’, so I am going to use my voice to say what I really think about our mental health services. The University of Sheffield’s counselling service is fantastic at helping if you’re feeling stressed about your workload, having friendship woes, missing home, etc. (I would 100% recommend talking to them if you’re struggling at all), but I have found that it struggles to help people like myself who have a diagnosed mental health condition.

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How to fight your inner Grinch: spending the Christmas season away from home

It’s that time of the year again. Chocolate Santas and gingerbread men have taken over the supermarkets and a never-ending playlist of Christmas songs encourages you to buy some more mince pies than you really need. Christmas has always been my favourite holiday, I’m one of those annoying people who starts singing Christmas songs in mid-summer, but being a university student can affect your Christmas spirit quite a bit. Between essay deadlines and exam revision, Christmas can actually come as a real surprise. Suddenly, the holidays are there, you find yourself sitting beneath a marvellously decorated tree, thinking about your upcoming exams, and being more of a Grinch than one of Santa’s joyful elfs. I’m in my fifth year of university and have spent Christmas time in three different countries during that period. Over the years, I’ve developed my own strategy to make Christmas season away from home a cheerful experience and I thought I’d share some of it with you guys.

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IT’S CHRISTMAS! But is everyone that excited?

It is approaching that time of year again when all you see in the shops in mince pies and tinsel. All anyone at university is talking about is Secret Santa and house Christmas dinners. Your bank accounts are slowly but surely emptying with all the present buying and Christmas meal attending. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, what could be better?

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3 tips to have a more enjoyable PhD experience

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Doing a PhD has been one of the best experiences of my life, and not only because of my research (Design of Soft Robotic Implants for Tissue Regeneration. Amazing, huh?). It is because the whole experience involves meeting new people, going new places and learning many different things. It took me one year to finally decide to start this new endeavour. What helped me to take the final decision? The support of my family and friends. Now that you have taken the decision of starting this new life project, I want to be that friend for you and let you know my top three tips for when you come to study your PhD at The University of Sheffield.

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Welcome to burlesque

Since I was 10 years old, I have wanted to be a rock star. Specifically, I want to be Billie Joe Armstrong, the frontman of my all-time favourite band, Green Day. His stage presence is unrivalled, and he uses his platform for good; singing about corrupt politicians, the state of the world today, and good old-fashioned teenage angst. I even started wearing my eye-liner like him and honestly, I still think of him every morning when I coat my eyes in smoky black. I desperately wanted to perform on a stage like he did and get lost in the music that made me feel so much emotion, but for years I was hampered by my own anxiety and lack of any sort of musical talent.

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The Bolehills Roly-Poly

Besides being my favourite park in Sheffield, Bolehills was made for Roly-Polies. The increasing gradient of the slope that encases the children’s playground was designed for them. Laying on your side: your eyes gorging on the panorama of reservoirs, peaks and forests; your nose grazing on the post-rain smell of petrichor, it only takes a little push, and suddenly the sky and earth become a wheeling blur around you, your pulse quickens, until suddenly: gasps and chuckles competing in your throat, you find yourself spread-eagled on the ground, waiting for the spiralling earth and sky to disentangle themselves for long enough for you to stagger up the slope and repeat the entire dizzying process.

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