University is the biggest part of my life at this current point. With that, it brings great challenges. Too much of something isn’t healthy, and i think that finding balance is the only way you can maintain it. Sometimes things come up which push you behind and it becomes a cycle, or you just lose motivation. That is what I would say has happened to me this year.
This year has been hard. I would say a whole lot harder than first year. Trying to pinpoint the reason and therefore work out how to make it better has not been easy. I would say it started back in the beginning of March when I got sick. You are always told that once you get to university, you will constantly experience a lesser quality of health. I soon realized that after I had a cold in O’Week. But the best thing about a cold is that you can battle through it and keep up your attendance. Unfortunately, this year, the cold advanced to tonsillitis which then proceeded into some complications of tonsillitis. As, a result I got to go on a staycation to hospital, 7 times in one semester. Those hospital stays turned into days missed of uni which turned into weeks missed. When I finally got better after a tonsillectomy, I counted over 30 lectures that I had missed. That is where the stress and lack of motivation started.
Stress is pretty inevitable at university, but I found the best way to minimize it was through creating that balance and doing things I knew made me feel good and remind me of my strengths and life outside of university.
Sleep seems to be the first thing that everyone seems to let go when they are stressed. However, you can’t expect your brain to function and properly process information if its running on 4 hours sleep and multiple cups of coffee. Make the most of the awake hours by getting stuck into work and avoiding procrastination. Trust me I get it’s very hard, but I found a sudden wave of motivation to do work at the library from 10 – 9 and it makes getting to sleep so easy because you actually feel like you deserve it. Plus being sleepy can = moody and no one wants that
Don’t shut your friends out to focus purely on your studies. Make time to hang out with them and actually enjoy yourself. It doesn’t have to be going out and drinking if you feel like the next day is wasted. Meet up with them at uni between lectures or for a study break. Getting yourself out of the books can be a good way to keep the brain active and refreshed as well as your mood positive.
The whole reason I got stressed and lost my motivation for uni was because I had so much time off uni. However, if you are literally near the point of burnout and you aren’t achieving anything but sitting mindlessly in a lecture then staying home and relaxing for a day or two then making up for it later could be a good option. I saw all my friends forcing themselves to go to lectures yet took in nothing. Learn to identify when you need a break because you are more important
Remember why you are there
Only being 2 years into a 5-year degree sometimes makes me feel like the end will never come. That is when you need to remember why you are there to start with. Whether it is something that interests you, the first step in getting your dream job or you just want to learn, think back to how you felt on day one and that excitement you had for the years to come.
Although this year has been hard, and at times I have definitely wanted to take all my (very small) savings and go off on a Contiki, applying these 4 things has helped me enough to keep going. There is not much longer to go for the year and then we all have a wonderful 4-month break. The reality for me and a lot of others is that we will be working to get money for the next year, but luckily that in itself can be a good break from uni. Remember to look after yourself come exams and keep that grind on but you come first always.