Music to listen to while reading 😊 (Music that I listened to while writing this actually)
Hey guys, long, long time no see! As you can probably tell from all the other bloggers’ posts we were recently hit with our very first wave of exams. Stress and anxiety levels were sky high. Tension, sadness and just overall negative vibes seemed to seep out under closed bedroom doors like puffs of black smoke. Some of my pod mates were up till around 3am in the morning studying and others were up at 6am the same morning. For the first time ever, I experienced losing sleep over an exam. This is all sounding pretty bleak but in retrospect, it was all 100% preventable, and boils down to one cause.
Ahh, the T word. If someone asked me what superpower I would want to have, the ability to control time would be pretty high on, if not topping the list. As mentioned in my (attempt of a) vlog, the biggest step up from high school to university would be the sheer amount of content that you have to learn and the amount of (seemingly little) things you have to do which really pile up. What can I say, mistakes were made, but hey, that’s what first semesters are for – to learn where your weaknesses are and to bounce right back, ready to smash 💥 second semester and every semester after that right out of the park till its but a speck in the sky. 🌟
I’m writing this blog in the hopes that you – a high school student, or you – a university student or even you – future Cecilia (hiya) will be able to read this, be reminded of my mistakes and maybe even your own mistakes, and take inspiration and steps towards working harder. 💪
So, without further ado, here are some of my top tips. Learnt the hard way.
- Go to your classes.
The title says it all. Really, go to your classes, or at least catch up as soon as possible. The biggest problem that I faced was probably just being so behind on lecture recordings. Seriously. It goes from 0 to 100 real quick. Snowballing ❄️, being the key term here. When you miss a lecture and you don’t catch up on the lecture recording, you probably won’t understand a thing that is going on in the next lecture. So one minute you’ve missed one session, then it’s been a week and you’ve missed about 3/4 sessions. The next thing you know you’ve got a whole topic’s worth of content that you haven’t watched and the test is next week. 😬 Trust me. Go to your classes. Even if you end up watching it again on the lecture recordings anyways, being there first hand allows you to absorb the information once, and then watching it the second time makes it much easier to understand.
- Don’t waste your mid sems.
Probably the catalyst of all my problems this semester. The cause of me missing a bunch of lectures, the cause of me not being able to catch up on lecture recordings on time. But no point playing the blame game. 🙅 Consider this a harsh lesson learnt. ✊ Don’t waste your mid sems. If you don’t know, a year is split into two semesters, and each semester is like a mini year with exams at the end of each one. Mid sems or ‘mid semester breaks’ are kind of like your Term 1 and Term 3 breaks, except (what I didn’t know at the time) was that mid sems aren’t really breaks, they’re more like study leave. You heard right. You’re pretty much expected to study for all of the tests and do all the assignments lecturers assign that are due right after the break. Silly little me decided for once in my life to do, pretty much zero study. To this day I still don’t understand what was going through my mind. See: temporary insanity. Believe me when I say, never again. Of course, you should take a break, but also remember to do at least some study for your upcoming tests, and do those assignments they introduced to you before your mid sems because likely, they did that for a reason.
- You always have time to exercise.
If you’re like me and coordination, team sports, ball sports, basically any type of sport has never agreed with you then exercise will probably be the last thing on your mind. But one thing that I’ve learnt is that getting up from your desk and moving around makes you feel 10 times better. Break up those long hours of study by taking a walk around the block, or at least around your house. If you live in halls, free rec center membership allows you to take free classes (that often don’t involve too much coordination thankfully, you just follow the instructor 😉, kickboxing and yoga being two of my favorites 🤸). Although I’ve always liked sport, I’ve never been particularly great at it. One activity that has never let me down though, was swimming. 🏊 You don’t have to be the next Michael Phelps, just moving around in the water, even if you’re waddling (ahem, aqua jogging) you can feel great. Don’t worry about looking strange either, I’m basically a floating potato but often the only people around you are cute grandmas so hey no one’s judging!
Guilty as charged. This is something I personally struggle to do and is a long-term goal. I’m sure you’ve all heard this, the optimal amount is 8 hours 😴. Try to get that, especially around exam time. We can strive towards this goal together! In fact, if you’re awake past 11:30pm right now. Stop reading and go to sleep! Go go go! 💤(…although, you have special permission to finish reading this blog first :3 )
- Be realistic.
Be realistic with your goals. One of the things I’ve realized about myself is that I like making plans and to do lists ✔️. However, I am never able to follow through with them exactly. Often, the reason is setting unrealistic goals ❌, like doing a whole topic’s tutorial sheet in 30 minutes (they normally take a minimum of around 2-3 hours but sometimes even longer). Having these unrealistic expectations really stressed me out when I couldn’t meet these deadlines, but self-awareness in this aspect has made me realize this and improve on it throughout the semester. However, one point I would like to make is that, although I never end up following lists exactly, writing everything down 📋 generates a sense of urgency. It forces me to actually get things done instead of having that ‘ignorance is bliss’ moment and then freaking out afterwards. So, if you can follow plans through step by step, fantastic! Keep going. However, I reckon if you can’t follow plans completely, setting realistic goals and accomplishing everything anyways is completely fine too!
- It’s never too late.
Finally, it’s never too late. Stop stressing out. Stop procrastinating. Stop thinking it’s over before it’s even begun. 🛑 Two weeks till the exam and you still haven’t started studying? Start now. One week till the exam and you still haven’t started studying? It’s still not too late, start now. Three days till the exam and you still haven’t started studying? Go. Now. Start. Now. Anything after that. Seriously. Drop everything and start now. Every minute you spend freaking out is a minute not studying. No matter how late it is, keep calm, and try your best!
Well that’s enough for today! I really hope you got something out of this as I really poured my heart and soul into this piece 😅. University can be tough, but you’re even tougher. As cheesy as it sounds, life goes on, there’s nothing more you can do other than try your best every step of the way, learning from your past mistakes and move forward.
Ahhh, enough sappy stuff! 🤢😳😬
In more exciting news: I’m happy to announce that I will be starting a new series (very originally) named the ‘Hall Tour Series’, where I will be doing a video tour of each of the five different first year halls, giving you a taste of what’s really inside. I remember last year really struggling to choose a hall to apply for when I missed the open day tours and had to decide based on pictures alone.
Filming has already started so get excited and stay tuned! 😉
See you soon!