Brighton Girl Guide: Back To Uni 2019
How To Survive January As A Student
The month of January always feels particularly long, but it can be even more difficult if you are a student returning back to University. Whether you’ve spend the Christmas break seeing family and friends or just taking a breather from all the looming deadlines, getting back into the swing of attending lectures, seeing the people on your course and living independently can be a huge stress.
I know personally that I find January the hardest time to return to Uni, because getting up for 9am lectures in the dark and worrying about paying too much for bills while not wanting to freeze to death is never fun. I’ve been trying out a few changes to my routine, in aim to help me deal with the transition back into student life and want to share them in case something helps you.
Stop saying yes to every night out you are invited to
After Christmas, I always lack money. It’s one of those months where I hold out for student finance and even when that arrives, I need to ensure I spend it wisely (because, rent.) Returning to Uni is also tricky, if you have been away over the Christmas period, because it’s likely that your friends and fellow students will want to hang out and catch up. Remind yourself: It’s okay to not always say yes to plans.
I know that you can often feel as though you are missing out if you don’t go to the pub or out for food, but I’m here to tell you it’s often better to sometimes say no. Saying no to a plan and taking time to yourself is not something you should feel ashamed by and by rule, I will try to turn down an evening out every two weeks. By doing this I’m making sure I have nights free to just relax (often with a facemask and a bath), which is something that is particularly important but often gets overshadowed.
If you’re having trouble in saying no to these plans, start to put the money (say £10, £20) you save by not going out into a savings account and treat yourself to something at the end of the month or save up for something bigger. This will soon start allowing you to feel positive about the time you take away for yourself.
Don’t go on your phone as soon as you get up
This may seem like a pretty obvious tip, but I was surprised about how attached I am to my phone. By charging your phone across the room from you, you can start to distance yourself from your phone first thing in the morning. Not only is this a great tip for relieving stress, it also prevents you from being influenced by other people as soon as you wake up.
This change was particularly useful to me as it prevented me from getting FOMO from seeing pictures of what my friends had been getting up to the evening before, which could sometimes mean I started my day with negative energy. By replacing my phone beside my bed with a book, I also became more productive in the reading I had meant to do but kept putting off, simply by spending that half hour with my nose in a book rather than scrolling through socials.
Make time to do something that you are passionate about
While I am sure you are passionate about what you are studying, it can sometimes feel like being at Uni can be so busy that you forget about all the things you were passionate about before you started your course. That is why I am telling you to take at least 2 hours a week to do something that you love. This may include joining a club or going swimming.
In my flat it became a trend to participate in ‘self care Sunday.’ In this way, I put a few hours aside on a Sunday to do something I enjoy and having this bit of time away from my laptop and all the deadlines, I start my Mondays feeling reenergised. Doing something you enjoy doesn’t have to cost anything either. It could be something as simple as going for a walk, if this is something you enjoy, or in my case, doing some sewing.
Its important to reiterate that this is not the time to learn a new skill, it is all about doing something you are already good at, but haven’t had a chance to do to ensure your brain can be used as a minimum during this time. (Learning a new skill is great, it just takes a lot of brain power!)
Go to sleep happy
Coming back to Uni and having all my deadlines being retold to me, meant I wasn’t getting a good night’s sleep. I managed to target that the issue was the fact that I was going to bed at night thinking about all the things I had to do the next day. Often it was going around and around in my head, in fear I would forget to do this.
I found the best way to minimise this is to leave a small notebook and pen by the side of your bed and therefore if anything crops up in your head when you are trying to settle down, quickly jot it down before getting some shut eye. In the same way, if something will take less than two minutes (like sending an email), do it there and then. Its surprising how much more relaxed you can feel by having one more thing out of the way, even if that something is small.
Come to a Brighton girl coffee morning
While speaking to people on your course is great, it can often feel like there is only so much to talk about before conversation diverts back to your course. It can feel as though there is no escape from your course sometimes and especially after Christmas it can be useful to have a separate friendship circle to allow complete separation from your course.
So, come along to a Brighton girl coffee morning. This provides the perfect place to find like minded people to chat to, while creating friendships that are not course orientated. In this way you can also introduce yourself in a way that only focuses on other bits about you and not what you study and allows you to make friends over other conversations. All this over a warm cup of coffee, what could be better?
Written by Emma Sherar