Studying at university is a lot of hard work. There are topics to read about, essays to write, presentations to prepare… the list goes on.
In a high pressure environment like university, it can be easy to feel buried under the weight of it all.
So here are a series of blog posts where I'll talk about my patterns of dealing with workloads at university that I felt were mistakes, and what I would do differently today.
Early into my first year as a student, I was worried that I wasn't getting enough outside reading done.
What not to do:
I knew I had to do something about my perceived lack of productivity, so I reduced the number of responsibilities or social engagements I had. By doing so, the thought went, I would have more time to knucle down and get that pesky extra reading done, and get assignments written.
In theory this is a good idea, especially if you're participating in lots of clubs and sports teams in your free time.
I was on no teams and attended no clubs.
In practice, I just spent more time to get the same amount of work done, while being significantly more stressed because I was missing out on a social life and doing little to enjoy myself.
What to do instead:
First, remember, what's done is done, and now is time to change for the better.
Stop, think, identify why you're not getting work done, and find out what would help.
Talking to friends is useful, more people feel like you than you think, and most will have ideas that can help. Don't hide away if you're not doing great, it doesn't reflect on you as a person, and friends are there to help.
Study groups can help keep you rolling along on days where you're struggling on your own, and has the benefit of giving other people's perspectives on a topic. Even if you're not as thorough as you would be alone, you cover more ground more quickly.
For individual work, working in the same place as a study buddy can help you both keep on track. Being nearby, you can help each other out, keep each other from slacking off and make sure you're both taking regular breaks.
If you're procrastinating hard, try changing your work environment. Have different physical locations for work and play, and try not to mix them (easier said than done).
Walking to the library is an action which tells your mind that you're in a place of work and that now is the time to focus.
Even walking around the block and back to your house can trick the mind into doing this. It helps, try it!
- Figure out what's slowing you down.
- Take steps to eliminate distractions and triggers.
- Talk to people, ask for advice.
- Work in groups, don't isolate yourself.
- Find a study buddy.
- Take regular breaks.
- Seperate work and play.