The new academic year is here! It’s exciting, but maybe a little daunting. There are many things you need to know when starting or returning to university, for example how to take care of your well-being.
Before you groan because you’ve already been lectured by your parents, your well-being is crucial to your success as a student. These tips will not only help with your studies, but in every aspect of your personal and professional life.
Did you know according to the NatWest Student Living Index 2019 45% of students in the UK feel stressed about their course. If you ever feel this way know that you’re not alone and there are things you can do to help combat this feeling.
As a student myself, I know that being organised and learning time management techniques may not be on your list of priorities, but it should be. We want to enjoy our time at university and not spend it making to-do lists or arranging our diaries, but this is a big part of university life and being independent. If you learn to manage and prioritise your time, you’ll find you’re spending less of it worrying and trying to catch up on work, and you’ll have more time to do the things you enjoy. Knowing how to manage your time and finding a structure that works best for you can be a little overwhelming, so check out our Time Management Guide for more advice and guidance after you’ve read this post.
You may be sat, stood, or maybe even laid there thinking:
“How does this relate to my well-being?”
It’s quite simple really; you want to take as much pressure off yourself as possible. Being at university can be a wonderful experience full of new, exciting opportunities, but it can also be stressful at times. Once you start looking at your extensive reading lists, timetable, assessments, all the extra-curricular activities you want to do; you might have the urge to turn off your phone, hide under the covers and try not to think about it. Therefore, learning how to prioritise your time is a key to staying relaxed whilst at university.
Looking after yourself at university
Here are my 5 top tips on how to look after your well-being whilst studying:
- Prioritise tasks on importance and length – can some be split into smaller tasks to do over a longer period? Look at our guide on Priority Matrices to help categorise them.
- Know your limitations – if that’s doing work in 30-minute segments so be it, we all work differently.
- Understand your work style by trying out different tools to manage time – check out our guide here.
- Take breaks – put these in your diary and make them as much as a priority as your tasks.
- Don’t overdo it – if this means becoming a member of one or two societies instead of the five, you’re thinking of joining (we’ve all been there), so be it.
Most importantly don’t burn out. I’ve been there; thinking I can do 101 extracurricular activities whilst writing multiple assessments, having a part-time job, and trying to find time to socialise with friends. This left me with very little, or no free time to just relax in front of the TV, or Netflix rather. I had to think about what my priorities were. It meant stepping away from a few things, but it gave me more time to relax and do things I enjoyed whilst still putting my all into university/work. I had more time to focus on my assessments, but also on my personal/social life.
Obviously, your studies are important and should be one of your main priorities, but so should your health and well-being. The university is here to support you throughout your studies.
Check out Student Support for guidance on well-being and how you can contact someone if you need extra support. They have self-help and well-being tips too! You can also do their Survive and Thrive module to learn about how to improve your well-being whilst learning new techniques to help maintain a good balance between your studies, work and social life.
Even though being at university is a big change for a lot of people, with the right tools in your arsenal you will have more chance of success whilst enjoying your time here.
Don’t forget to have fun in every aspect of your university career. Make your to-do lists have personality, get a fun diary and calendar, personalise your apps. Being organised doesn’t have to be dull.
I hope you have found some useful resources here to help you manage your time sufficiently and things seem a little less daunting. Enjoy your time at university and stay hydrated!
This article was written by Joanna Rawnsley, SkillsGuide Intern