For the last couple of years I’ve been in the dark as to what that Friday feeling is. I was glad that my friends, family and partner would be around; but as far as my life went, the weekends were much the same as the week.Now that I’ve returned to university and spend the week in lectures or under pressure to prepare for the next day’s topic, I suddenly understand this concept a lot better.

I’ve done a lot of things this week that I’m proud of, and a lot that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve gone to lectures in rooms full of strangers without having a panic attack. I’ve learnt how to use a new library system and have stayed ahead of the reading. I’ve joined the Creative Writing Society and found a group who are starting a Board Games Society. I’ve made a few friends and learnt a few things – but it won’t be Historic facts that I disclose in this series of Friday blogs.

I want to talk about life at university, things I’ve learnt from my first year (all those years ago) and things I’ve learnt from what I did differently this time around. So on this Friday when I’ve chosen not to continue studying, I’ll talk about overworking!

I’ve mentioned in my mental health blogs the importance of caring for yourself, but in the context of university this can be tough. We’ve got a library which is open until late which contains more books than we could read in a lifetime, online journals which mean we don’t even need to move in order to access materials, and looming deadlines which get closer far too quickly. There’s also the possibility of doing the opposite – of spending every hour drinking or hanging out with our new friends and forgetting what we’re spending £9000 on.

As a workaholic I’m prone to the first, and have help organising my schedule to ensure I don’t work too hard. But what if you don’t have this help? I’d advise making a schedule and plotting in everything you have to do that week.

  • Lectures
  • Key reading (lecture prep)
  • Meetings
  • Work (if you have a job)
  • Social Activities

Key Reading: Your lecturer will sometimes advise reading for you to do before the next lecture, I’d encourage you to do this as it helps you feel more confident during the lecture and can save time later

Social Activities: Try not to sign up to every society and show up to every meeting, it’ll get crazy! But do sign up to one or two, it’s a great way of making friends with people who share hobbies or interests. Most of my friends from first year are actually dance friends who I met at a society.

 

So what am I doing differently? I’m listening to my own advice! I’m someone who studies too much if left to my own devices so I’m being disciplined with myself while keeping one eye on those approaching deadlines. Working too much drained me the first time round and made me so ill I had to leave, but likewise working too little could end in the failure of modules with essentially the same result. Keep it balanced 🙂

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