Being a third year student, I know about the hardships it is to get through a day let alone one week. You end up believing you are not capable of doing anything right and stay in the shelter of your bed for hours, am I right? For a long few months I was doing this, eating anything I could find (normally a right carb fest), and doing work last minute. I felt heavily stressed, I wanted to cry all the time and above all it made me miss home even more. Here are my top five steps to make your third year the best it can be, without feeling like you’re just keeping your head above water (or that you’re drowning in the deep end)
Step One: Assessments
Right at the beginning of University I was told ‘Do it as soon as you get it, DON’T WAIT.’ I tried to stick to this advice but in the end, life just takes over and it’s not always possible to do this. The best tactic I have found is to keep a diary and a hour by hour schedule for each day. This sounds boring and for those of you who like to go with the flow a nightmare. BUT I have found this helps amazingly well – I feel prepared almost instantly when I’ve done this before I’ve even begun the workload. So find a pretty diary and begin filling in the dates of when things are due followed by REALISTIC dates that you would like the assessment finished by. There is no use putting so much on yourself that you want 3,000 words done in one week. It’s just not gonna happen, my friend.
Step 2: Eating Habits
Now, I am unbelievably guilty when it comes to food – if I am hungry, I will eat anything and everything in sight. More often than not I am swayed for a takeaway, and not only does my bank hate me by the end of it, I feel pretty awful too. The best thing I have found now is to make two things for the next day every day. For instance if I know I am going to be out from 9-3 instead of buying a sandwich there, I make my own and take it with me. Also I make something to go with the dinner for the following day, for instance my favourite mustard mash which can kept in the fridge for up to 3 days and goes with a variety of protein.
Chocolate covered rice cakes from Kallo have become one of my favourite snacks. They’re incredibly light and I still feel like I am getting some sort of treat. (I know it’s not a Galaxy bar but at least it’s chocolate) If you can get along with the texture of rice cakes then I recommend these for you! 🙂
Also I recommend carrying water with you wherever you go – you’ll be surprised how much of a subconscious act it is to take a sip every now and and before you know it, it’s gone! Hydrated mind = CHECK! (Also it’s great for your skin too!)
Step 3: Exercise
I know, I know, you’ve just been given three assessment dates in the same month, no way are you going to have time to fit in exercise as well – it’s not a priority. Well, I have found I’ve been more productive and ready to work since I have been exercising every day. A jog around the town, yoga or a light swim even for 20 minutes is enough to get your mind focused and ready to work afterwards. Yoga especially is good for keeping stress levels down, which is what we need to focus on – you need to make sure you feel ready in mind and body so when assessment dates come closer you feel ready to take them on not run away from them! Even pulling on your dance moves can make a bad day turn into a cracking one!
Step 4: Sleep
This is one of the most important steps to getting you through third year. Sleep. But not at unnatural times from 4am – 3pm, oh no. It’s time to get used to the daily grind sort of hours -and that involves getting up with sun! If you can try to get to bed before midnight five nights a week to wake for 8 the next day, you will not feel like taking naps in the middle of the afternoon – which can really affect your working habit. Sleep has been proven to aid focus and concentration/motivation levels, so get some more shut eye!
Step 5: The right mindset and a smile.
The last four steps will all aid with making your third year run smoothly but this step is the most important one in my books. Do not beat yourself up when things go wrong. I know that University is important but it shouldn’t rule your life. You shouldn’t get upset about marks on a paper, or when you feel you have too much to do that you’re not doing enough. You are. The worst thing you can do is shut yourself away and say no to any social invitation because you have too much work to do. At the end of the day you want to remember the memories you made with your friends, rather than the hours you spent pulling your hair out over an essay night after night. I’m not saying don’t work hard, but allow yourself to go and watch that film, or cook with your flatmates- you’ll find you won’t feel so bad about your workload when you’re able to have fun alongside it.
So to recap:
- Keep a schedule
- Plan and prepare your meals the day before
- Drink more water
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise for at least 20 minutes a day
- Smile and remember in ten years, it really won’t matter!