Christmas is over and we are in those drab weeks of January when it feels like there are only 15 minutes of sunlight a day, the work you promised yourself you would catch up on over Christmas is unavoidable, and everyone else seems to have taken up running. So, if your new year’s resolutions have already fallen through, try these more manageable tips for starting off the term right.
Invest in a good planner that works for you
We are all ultimately at Durham for the purpose of getting a degree, but there are ways of making the process less stressful and more manageable. Have a look back on what worked well for you last term, and what didn’t. Do you procrastinate by pretending your essay deadlines don’t exist? Or perhaps you forget to go to that tutorial that seems to be scheduled every 4.75 weeks? Take some time to work out what will actually make your life more organised and therefore easier this term. If you’re not scrambling to work out when all of your deadlines are and pulling all-nighters, you will have more time to enjoy all the fun aspects of university and have to miss out on much less.
Personally, I use a calendar on my wall so that all of my lectures and tutorials are right there in front of me, which makes it much less likely that I will conveniently ‘forget’ that 9am up at Hide Bede. I have also found that using a daily planner with sections for quick-ticks, larger tasks and long-term projects helps me to prioritise my work and schedule it around social activities. These might not be the perfect solutions for you, but carve out a bit of time this term to experiment with organisation and it will save you time and stress in the long-term.
Commit to some organised exercise
I am writing this partly as advice to myself, as making sure I exercise consistently at university is something that I struggle with. However, it is so important to prioritise keeping your body moving, especially if you are spending a lot of time in the library, working your brain hard. Though you may feel drained at the end of the day, if you haven’t done any physical exercise then it can be hard to switch off mentally and get the rest you need.
If the thought of dragging yourself out for a run or to the gym with no real deadline feels impossible, then I would pick out something that follows a schedule, like joining a sports team or committing to a yoga class once a week. College teams are a great place to start, as they are always filled with a mix of abilities and are generally more about the fun of the sport, rather than being too competitive and stressful.
Try something new
Finally, challenge yourself to take up one new society this term. It is said time and time again, but societies really are a great way to meet people and try something you wouldn’t usually do. Not only do they get you out of the house to try something new, but they allow you to meet people outside of your college, subject and normal friendship groups. If you are a STEM student looking for a creative outlet, perhaps try something like life-drawing classes or the creative writing society, or even join the Bubble contributor group and write an article for us! Maybe you’re a second year exhausted at the thought of having to cook for yourself again this term: you could try curry club or the instant noodle society to take care of one of those meals. Have a look on the SU website at all the groups on offer and just try out something new this term.
Featured image by: Polina Kovaleva