Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Getting back on track with your degree

With Term 3 on the horizon, the deadlines are looming and as you stare blankly at the mountain of work you have to catch up on, you suddenly regret all those times you napped instead of going to lectures. Whilst it may seem an unachievable feat to get that grade you aspired towards at the start of the year, I can assure you that it definitely isn’t. There’s still plenty of time to brush the dust off those textbooks, sharpen those pencils and get back on track.

The last thing you want to do is over work yourself and burn out

The best way to effectively make a change in your work ethic is to completely start afresh. Tell yourself that from this point onwards, you’re breaking out of the unproductive and unhealthy cycle of coffee fuelled, panicked all-nighters you fell into at some point during the second half of Term 1. Instead, treat the rest of term as a brand-new slate and establish a different kind of routine. Get yourself a weekly planner or whiteboard and plan out the things you have to do each day of the week to ensure nothing is forgotten. Place it somewhere visible so you’re reminded to check it. Visualising your workload and watching it reduce is a great motivational tactic and it forces you to assign a time to complete specific tasks. Saying that, be sure to give yourself time off to rest and do things you enjoy. The last thing you want to do is over work yourself and burn out.

Once you’ve started to organise your time, it might be a good idea to turn to the physical space in which you’re planning to work. If your desk (like mine, admittedly) is prone to becoming a steadily increasing hub for miscellaneous objects then get yourself some cheap boxes or baskets and put things away that you don’t immediately need. Whilst it’s a classic cliché, ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ can prove to be a helpful bit of advice and clearing out the clutter will help you create a space where you’re able to focus.

A significant portion of the random assortment of things you clear off your desk is likely to be a collection of crumpled paper and forgotten handouts. Make life easier for the stressed out, slightly frantic Term 3 version of yourself and organise your notes into module-specific folders. If you have bits of paper that were crushed somewhere in the bottom of your bag, take the time to write them out again or if they’re not helpful, throw them out. Once you have a coherent, organised set of notes it’ll be a lot easier to quickly access the content you need to revise the most, making the revision process that little bit less painful.

Prioritise your own wellbeing and put yourself first

Above all of this, know you can ask for help. Lecturers, tutors and seminar leaders are there to help you understand your content so make use of their office hours or drop them an email with any questions you have. Aside from academically, ensure you prioritise your own wellbeing and put yourself first. There is nothing wrong with reaching out to friends, family or mental health services if you feel like you’re struggling to cope with the pressure as you don’t have to go through it alone.

Whilst it’s easy to slip into an unproductive routine, it can be easier than you think to break out of it. Staying organised, focused and motivated is essential to regaining control over your degree but if you remind yourself of the goal you want to achieve and believe in your own capabilities to do so, you’re already halfway there.

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