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How to Beat the Back-to-School Blues

How to Beat the Back-to-School Blues main image

By Lucy Farrington-Smith

Whether it’s your first year of university or not, the start of a new academic term always comes as a shock to the system. It’s a change in routine, in lifestyle, and most noticeably in your workload, and it’s all too easy to get overwhelmed.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Let’s take it back to basics, and find out some fool-proof organisation and coping techniques to get through the tricky term. Whether you’re a brand-new fresher or a veteran post-grad student, we’ve got you covered.

Study your module guides

This step seems so simple, but it’s something easily forgotten. When your tutors hand out module documents, or alert you to them being live on your university intranet, make sure you actually read them and take them in, rather than just tidying them away in a folder.

As suggested in our article on time management tips, working out what you actually have to do early on can reduce stress and anticipation throughout the terms.

If you haven’t had access to the guides before your semester starts, pull out key information like reading lists and suggested materials so you can get them straight away and make a start on preliminary research.

Although it may not seem like it, the start of a term is always the calm before the storm, so you need to use this time wisely before deadlines start approaching.

Get a calendar

With the help of your module handbook, pick out key dates in your terms – your exams, coursework deadlines, and revision sessions to name a few – and write them up again on your own calendar.

It can be hard to keep track of deadlines when they’re spread across multiple modules and in different locations, so take time early in the term to collate all your key dates together in one place.

Not only will this help you out when your workload increases, it will give a holistic view of your year ahead with a visual representation of deadlines so they’re never a surprise.

Figure out your study routine

Do you work best alone in silence, or do you buzz off the company and concentration of others around you studying at the same time? A lot of your time will be (not surprisingly) spent studying, so it’s a good idea to get a routine figured out early on.

Issues I Face suggest: ‘Designate a quiet, well-lit area for studying. Don't study in front of the television, or in an area of your home where you're bound to be distracted.” Sort this out now, and make those revision sessions a breeze.

Wake up early

I know how it sounds – but you’ll thank us for it later. When it’s induction week, lectures don’t run as normal, meaning you have no real structure to your days. As tempting as it is to catch up on sleep, try to get into the habit of waking early to prep your body for your normal lecture times in the weeks to come.

If it’s your first year, you want to make a good impression on your tutors – and if it’s your final year, you know the importance of doing well in these semesters, so make the time count, and sort out your sleeping routine now.

If you have trouble settling in and sleeping to begin with, try techniques like listening to as you drift off, and reduce your caffeine intake during the day.

Remember to enjoy yourself

You’re at university to learn, but also to gain a lot of life and social experience. It’s a time like no other, with likeminded people and a vibrant culture, so make sure you make the most of it.

If you’re struggling, ask your tutors and your peers questions, and remember that you’re not alone – thousands of young people over the country are going through exactly the same thing, so don’t keep your worries bottled up. University is a privilege, so remember to enjoy it amongst the stress of the almost-constant deadlines!

Lucy Farrington-Smith writes for Inspiring Interns, which helps companies find the perfect intern and career starters the perfect job, in everything from tech jobs to marketing internships.

Lead image: HackNY.org (Flickr)

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