With quarantine being extended and university being at home, many students are feeling the stress and confusion of it all. I hope this guide may be able to help those stuck in a rut.
“These are uncertain and strange times”
I’m sure many have heard this phrase before, but it is true. For many students this is the first time we have been living in such times and therefore we are feeling unsure what to do with ourselves. Do we keep a routine? Do we let ourselves relax more than usual? In general, we have many questions with few answers.
Although I am not the best at taking my own advice, here are a few of my tips:
Although cliché, what you see influencers doing online should not have a say on what you do on the daily. I would recommend not being too harsh on yourself if you slip-up from time to time. This period of time is uncertain and quite honestly scary. University work and exams may be on your mind but also friends, family, and everyone’s health. Having the perfect routine of waking up, going for a run, studying for hours, and eating perfectly healthy may not be realistic for everyone, let alone suitable. If you love routine, then great! Now is a good time to make one but remember be gentle on yourself too. If sticking to a routine is not your thing, make a to-do list and work through that or prioritise what needs to be done daily. If you’re unsure on what you like better, think back to what you did at university and if what you did on a daily basis was the best for you.
I am a first-year university student in York; the pressure of exams and assessment is none. Although many first years (including myself) feel a great amount of relief, I do have to admit motivation is low as there are no exams to be working for – in other words, there is nothing obvious to keep us accountable if we do or not do the work. However, I would really recommend that first year students keep up with their university work. Although our days may not be as structured as if we were in university, keeping on track is important. Here are some reasons why:
- The material you learn this year will be the foundations on what you learn next year
- Keeping study hours to your day will be productive and can help you structure the rest of your day
- The staff at university have put effort into uploading online resources! I know I feel guilty if I don’t do a task as I know staff have put effort into uploading. It’s all about giving the effort back to the staff
For all of those with exams and graded pieces of work, try to keep up your work ethic. Though to be honest I’m sure many of you are motivated. Although I am a first year, I understand the importance of exams. Some of you may enjoy studying at home but plenty of students would rather be in the library. What I recommend is making your own study space that makes you feel at your the best. It may be a minimalistic desk with only a laptop and stationery. For others your desk may have fairy lights, an oil diffuser and a small cactus next to your laptop. It depends on whatever makes you feel at your prime.
Happiness and Health
Some of you may be thriving in lockdown but some of you may be struggling – and that’s okay! Stress is high for many students, understandably. Studying is important but so is self-care. Happiness and health go hand in hand. Personally, I’ve been trying to get my “quarantine glow-up”. Here are some things I recommend
- Exercise: Though sweaty and a tad painful, exercise releases serotonin, aka, happy hormones! Running, yoga, and workout videos are excellent ways of gaining some much-needed serotonin.
- Food: Eat what makes you feel best. Yes, your five-a-day are key for happiness and health but I don’t want to preach only eating that. It’s a stressful time so don’t feel bad about ordering a takeaway or eating some freshly baked biscuits and cakes. Life is all about that sweet balance.
- Socialising: Please abide by social distancing! There are other ways of being social without being selfish. Video calling and messaging your friends, partners, and family probably doesn’t fell the same as seeing people in the flesh but it’s for the best.
- Hobbies: Yes, term time has started but, if you can, take some time out for some hobbies and fun activities.
- Resting: Make sure you’re resting too. Term time may have started but study breaks are important. Resting may be different from person to person – watching YouTube, being on social media or having a nap – as long as you feel recharged.
I hope this article of recommendations has given you some guidance. The main thing is to find a good balance with everything. This is a very strange period of time but the best thing for all of us is to try and stay positive, focus on ourselves and look forward to post-quarantine.