Getting back into Study Mode!
So it’s finally arrived. After what feels like months of preparation, 2016 is upon us and although all we can think about is how much we wish the Christmas Holidays would last forever; the time has come. It’s time to face the crashing realisation that those long lay-ins and midnight cheese binges are going to have to come to an end. Christmas is over, and University is suddenly looming again.
Although I profess to be no expert in these matters, I would like to share some words of wisdom gathered over the years that I have used to help me shake off the sluggishness of the Christmas Season and get my study head back on. Please feel free to read, take on or simply ignore them entirely.
1. Re-evaluate your diet.
Christmas got you feeling a bit heavier than usual? Firstly, it is important to let you know you are not alone! The Christmas period is notorious for adorning our wretched bathroom scales with a number of extra kilos but have no fear, January is here! To our delight and equal despair, those turkey sandwiches and left over cheeses will shortly be packed away and although indulging over Christmas does no real harm, we need to recognise that it is not a healthy lifestyle to maintain.
When you move back to your Uni house, restock your fridge with healthy foods and snacks to give your brain and body a chance to get back to normal and ditch the sluggish feeling Christmas has left you with! Clean eating can have a fantastic impact on how you feel and more importantly, your ability to concentrate!
2. Write up a new timetable and ditch the bad habits!
As the new Semester approaches, it is likely that you are going to have a couple of minor changes to your timetable. You will also have different assignments to prioritise. Starting a new timetable from scratch can be highly beneficial.
Firstly, it will remind you of your study priorities. Writing a fresh plan can remind you of what you were hoping to achieve at the beginning of the academic year.
Secondly, if you have picked up any bad habits throughout the first term, now is also the perfect time to recognise them and shake them off. Been leaving your assignments too late? Avoiding seminar work or particular lectures? The time between now and the exam period will be extremely important, so reflecting on what you can do differently moving forward is a must.
3. The fun isn’t over!
Reflecting on Christmas is fun and important, but in my experience, there is always a lull after the Christmas Holidays where we feel like all of the joy has suddenly evaporated from under us. Do not despair! The early months don’t have to be disappointing! Grab your new diary and arrange something fun to do in a few weeks’ time. This could be as simple as a night in with your housemates or a weekend activity. Having something to look forward to can help give you a clearer perspective on how fast time is moving, and makes it easier to think about moving forward with the year.
4. Fix your sleeping pattern!
After a long break, most of us will have accidently got ourselves into an unusual sleeping pattern. Whether it’s dozing off at 3am, not getting up until the afternoon or snoozing for several hours in the day, these habits are not helpful when you’re at University and can hold you back from studying. To combat this, set yourself an alarm and commit to it. This can take a few nights so don’t give up if it doesn’t work out on the first morning. A healthy sleeping pattern will help you to prioritise your time, concentrate better and get back into a healthy routine.
5. Put the bottle down.
Nowadays, Christmas is getting earlier and earlier which means that for many of us, we adopt an extended period of social drinking which is accepted amongst our families and peers.
The NHS are now recommending 3-4 units of alcohol per day for men as a maximum, or one pint of 5.2% alcohol or 2-3 for women which is less than one 175ml glass of wine. They are also recommending 2-3 days per week which are completely alcohol free. If you are struggling to stick to this for longer than a few weeks after Christmas and you are worried, it is important that you seek support from either your Doctor or from the University.
And most importantly,
6. Pace yourself.
2016 is coming for us, and there is nothing we can do to stop it. All the same, it is important to understand that we are unlikely to come around to study mode overnight and that pacing ourselves is crucial. Start slowly by reading through some of your old notes and move up to your assignments, seminar work and revision.
One final piece of advice; try to enjoy your final months before the exam season kicks in. January is a new year where you have the opportunity to start a fresh chapter in your degree so make it count!