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16 Ways To Pick Yourself Up When Uni Gets You Down

It’s coming up to that time of year again, exams just around the corner and deadlines creeping up out of nowhere. Starting to feel like it’s all a bit too much? You’re not alone. So here are a few tips to help keep you sane when it all starts to get a bit too much.

1. Remember why you’re doing it.

What do you love about your degree? If that seems too much, what do you find interesting about each of your modules? It doesn’t have to be a battle of you versus degree – you can both be on the same side. If you keep telling yourself that you hate studying and you can’t stand your subject, it’s going to be a lot harder to get into the right frame of mind to get through it.

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2. Set small goals.

Even if it’s just ‘once I finish this essay, I can watch Netflix’, or ‘getting these notes done now will stop me getting too stressed at exam time’, setting reminders of the bigger picture will help you look after your future self, as well as your present self.

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3. Know your syllabus. 

Sounds simple but it’s so easy to neglect. Make a point of writing down each topic of each of your modules, the exam structure, and what kind of coursework you’ll be doing and when the deadlines are. Putting it onto paper makes it real, and harder to stray from.

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4. Make lists your new best friends.

Start small, don’t aim to build Rome in a day. ‘Write notes for lecture 1’– once you’ve done that, see how you feel and then add something else to your list – in time you’ll figure out how many things you can feasibly fit into your day.

5. Make a study playlist.

You’re gonna need classical music for this, or at least purely instrumental songs – otherwise you WILL get distracted and start singing along. Mine is about 45 minutes long and once it gets on to the last few tracks it gives me a boost to carry on and finish that burst of studying – then once it finishes I get to take a break – heck yes.

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6. And a motivational playlist for when you’re not studying.

Lots of upbeat tunes to listen to during your breaks to lift your spirits, or slow and calming songs to help you relax at the end of a hard day’s work.

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7. Practice mindfulness.

It’s not just for those people who drink smoothies for breakfast and go through a yoga routine all before 8am. It’s something that you (yes, you) can manage to fit into your day, slowly but surely. Just take five minutes to focus on your breathing, check in with yourself, and be present in the here and now. The essays and assignments will still be there when you’re done, but your head just might feel a little clearer. If you need help getting started, there are plenty of apps you can download-  Headspace is a good (free) one to try out.

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8. Get together with your course mates.

A problem shared is a problem, well, not exactly halved, but at least you’re not carrying the full weight of it anymore. Let at least a part of it float away to the friendly ears of a classmate, who is probably going through the exact same things as you. Try getting together to combat all of the lecture material in a group- teaching and testing each other will help you learn, plus you’ll help to keep each other motivated.

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9. Reward yourself.

Plan rewards for when you meet a deadline so you have a reason to work towards it – arrange to go see a movie or go out for a meal after handing in an essay or completing a test. Having something to look forward to will put things into perspective and help you realise there is more to life than your degree.

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10. Change your study space.

Head to the library if you’re in need of some peace and quiet, or, if you’re sick of the library, try out a café or at least another part of uni. At least get up and go for a walk in the fresh air. A change is as good as a rest, so they say.

11. Log out of social media for a while.

Not only does it distract you from getting work done, it subconsciously causes you to compare yourself to others. ‘How are they getting all this time to go out and party AND manage to get good grades?’ you’ll end up thinking as you scroll mindlessly. You don’t need that kind of nonsense. Try it for one day, you’ll be amazed at how much clearer your mind feels.

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12. Reach out to your close friends for a moan.

You’re not bothering them, and they won’t be annoyed at you. Sometimes all you need is a good rant, and occasionally, saying it all will help you realise it’s actually not that bad. Or if it is, your pal will (hopefully) have a few words of comfort for you. You’d do the same for them, so don’t suffer in silence needlessly.

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13. Don’t be afraid to talk to tutors and lecturers.

Yes, some will send back really sarcastic emails and will be of no use, but you never know until you try. Most will try to do everything they can to help you and reassure you, you’re not the first struggling student they’ve encountered, and you won’t be the last.

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14. Let yourself have days off.

You’re not a machine and it’s natural for some days to be better than others. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t feel guilty for going out instead of revising. You are doing okay, I promise.

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15. Talk to someone.

Whether it’s a general bout of stress, or you’re struggling with things like anxiety and depression getting in the way of your work, TALK TO YOUR UNI. Most have a counselling service, and many now have dedicated mental health schemes. Talking to someone may seem like a big deal to you, but its run of the mill for them; they’ve got the experience to advise you on how best to get through your workload no matter what your situation is.

16. Most importantly, stay positive.

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