It would be fair to say that this has been a very strange year and nothing has really turned out to be like we planned it. Beginning my university journey without actually sitting any A-levels was something I wouldn’t have believed possible just one year ago, yet here we are. Firstly, I wanted to congratulate everyone who has made it to this point! These last couple of months have not been easy, and whether you were helping your community by volunteering or staying home isolating keeping others safe, you’ve all done a great job!
Coming to University from lockdown is a rather strange experience, I’ve gone from spending more time with my family than I have in years (both a pleasant and unpleasant experience) to suddenly being very far away from them and home. I can’t stress enough how important it is to find a method of communicating with your family and friends that works for you. Having good mental health is something that in these turbulent times we all have to work on, and the first year of university was always going to be stressful even without the added pressure of a worldwide pandemic. I myself have been hosting weekly FaceTime’s with my family, and have continued the trend of frequent Zoom calls with my friends that I started in lockdown. However, this method is not one that would work for everyone, I have some friends that find it too upsetting to call their family that frequently, and by no means is this something you have to do! Just remember, a little break from work to talk to a familiar face can provide a surprising amount of relief to stress you might not have even noticed.
Getting back into studying habits has definitely been a big struggle for me, it feels like it has been so long since I last took notes! My advice to those feeling the same is to pace yourself, make a timetable where you factor in things such as required reading, taking notes on lectures, and seminars. Don’t try to do everything at once! While I’ll be the first to admit the workload seemed quite scary at first, once I organised how I would work through it, I’ve found it to be much less nightmarish to look at my timetable and I’ve found myself enjoying the work more once the element of stress was diminished. One of the things I’ve found in the last week, is that I felt that each module suited a different way of studying. If this isn’t the same for you then I applaud the organisation of both your notes and your brain! However, I unfortunately seem to favour a slightly more chaotic approach. It’s important to remember that everyone studies in different ways, some people may have neat notebooks, others may have indiscernible scribbles that may as well be in secret code, or maybe you're a mix of the two! Any option is fine as long as it works for you.