how to survive uni
I've just survived a crazily busy week, during which I have (1) written an essay on raggare and risky driving, (2) submitted the essay, (3) prepared a presentation on women in politics and (4) presented it, (5) submitted an application for a master program, (6) participated in what feels like 1,000h of Gender Justice & Violence workshops and (7) had so, so much fun while doing it. Today we held the Education for a Feminist Future conference (it was so great to see some of you guys there, I'm sorry that I didn't get the chance to speak to you more ♥), and tomorrow I'm going to start filling my brain with evolutionary psychology (ugh) for the exam on the 14th. So busy, and quite stressful, but I wouldn't change it for anything.
A couple of weeks ago I got a comment from a blog reader who wondered how the hell one manages the never ending uni stress and avoid break downs? And I’ve been thinking a lot about this, because this year I’m not stressed at all? At least not in comparison to other years. So here is a list of things that I've realised/learnt during the years that I wish someone had told me in 1st year:
1. You will start to trust your abilities and that will make studying so much easier. During 3rd year I had these anxious thoughts, constantly vibrating in the back of my head, about how I wouldn’t be good enough, or that I wouldn’t be able to meet deadlines; and it made life so hard. It really did. But now I know that I can write essays, and I can do presentations, because I've done it before. So the only thing that makes me stressed now is the workload, but that stress doesn't eat you up in the same way.
2. Breaks are so important, so If you want to go home to your family/friends for a weekend and just breathe, for the love of God — do! Or take the day off and just read, go for walks, or have coffee with your friends. Whatever makes you relax and forget about uni for a while. And take that from someone who didn’t give herself enough breaks during 3rd year and whose brain stopped functioning because of it.
3. You’re allowed to break down and cry, you really are. You’re not weak if you do, just human.
4. Sleep is your brain's best friend, I promise. A little tip; I have a holy rule of no screens whatsoever 45 mins before it's time for bed, and it has really improved the quality of my sleep. So close your laptop, put aside your phone and read/meditate/drink tea with your flatmates instead.
5. Team up with someone in your class, or someone else who also has shitloads of work to do, and do it together!! It’s so much more fun and you won’t feel like the loneliest person on earth (which happens when you need to lock yourself up and study). During the weekend Fatou and I camped in the living room, I occupied one sofa, Fatou the other, and just wrote on our essays, shared thoughts and asked questions, and slowly built a fort of chocolate, crackers, mandarine peels and used coffee cups between us.
6. And lastly, probably the most important point: don't be afraid/ashamed to ask for help or support if you need it.