Motley Staff Writer Sadhbh Sullivan gives you some tips and tricks on how to tackle your first study season during your time here in UCC
The novelty of Freshers’ week (or month, for some) has finally worn off, and it seems as though everyone has begun to settle into a more structured routine, balancing lectures, exercise, and somewhat hectic social lives. October can be a daunting month for students; assignment deadlines are beginning to creep up and exams are just around the corner. While this can be a stressful time, there are a few things you can do to make preparing for exams and assignments that much easier.
Make a plan
The quote “everything seems impossible until it’s done,” doesn’t discriminate against hefty college workloads. A long to-do list can seem discouraging before you put each item into an actionable plan. When it comes to making study plans, no two people are the same, so typically you can’t quite copy and paste your friends’ methods into your own life.
Because life can be unpredictable, I find it difficult to plan a week in advance. Instead, I like to sit down in the morning, and jot down some of the things I want to achieve that day, before putting them into a comprehensive plan. If I’m studying, I try to pencil in a five-minute break every hour. I’ll also save a few hours for going to the gym or doing something that I enjoy.
When college work begins to start piling up on itself, it can seem impossible to stop and take a break, even when you need it. In order to be productive, your body needs to rest, so a combination of late nights and early mornings might not be the most efficient plan for you.
Try to get about eight hours of sleep every night, and timetable regular study breaks into your plan. Don’t be afraid to take a day off if you need it. College isn’t necessarily the ‘be all and end all,’ so put your mind and your body first.
Do more of what you enjoy
Whether it’s going for coffee with your friends or watching your favourite TV series on Netflix, it’s really important to make time for yourself during the week. Once you’ve established a routine, life can become monotonous, so don’t be afraid to take time out to do something that you really enjoy. Life is too short to spend the entire day worrying about exams, so even if it’s for just thirty minutes of your day, take time to do the things you enjoy the most.
Surround yourself with the right people
It’s hard to stay positive and focused when most of your day consists of lectures or studying but having a strong network of friends and family definitely helps. Spend more time with people that inspire you and encourage you to do your best, and don’t be afraid to avoid anyone that makes you feel otherwise.
Ask for help
If you’re struggling with some of your lecture content or an upcoming exam, ask your lecturer about it. After all, that’s what they’re getting paid to do. If you’re not comfortable with approaching a lecturer during class, try to send them an email instead.
If you’re struggling outside of lectures too, don’t forget that you’re never alone, especially here in UCC. Don’t be afraid to turn to family or friends if you’re finding college overwhelming. UCC also offer a great free counselling service. See ucc.ie/en/studentcounselling/devandtraining for more information about the service and how to book an appointment.
No matter how difficult it might seem sometimes, remember that there’s always someone there to help, and a shoulder to lean on is never far from reach.