It’s that time of the year when the holiday’s are over and people go back to their regular schedules. Some might already have been back for a little while but for me university started this week. As I am writing this the first day back is tomorrow. The start back to school brings the blues to many people which is kind of sad because shouldn’t we be doing something we love enough that the idea of going back to it should be at least a teeny, tiny bit exciting or/and backed by happy emotions?
For me the start of university again comes with motivation to get ahead early so I don’t fall behind, motivation to stay organized but also a sens of dread which sinks me into a deep funk. I am blessed to be able to go to university, I know this. Some people are in places where girls are not allowed to go to school or there is too much corruption or fighting for it to be possible. Some people would sell their right leg as the saying goes to be able to make enough money or to be in a living situation that permitted them to go to higher education of school in general. I know all this and try to keep it in mind but for me university is synonym with stress, anxiety, depression etc… I am someone who does not learn well by sitting in a 300 people classroom listening to someone speak in monotone for 1h30-3 hours. Some of these classes have no visual aids or class participation as well. I am someone who strives and learns by conversation, by doing, by visual aids, by teaching others. Knowing this and what I have described as my university experience so far you can see how they don’t exactly fit. Which is why fairly often my mental health suffers.
The subject of mental health and university is a large one which I will try to do at a later date but they main thing to keep in mind with this post is that it effects a lot of people.
Now getting back to the title of this post I want to start off this semester right. I am sure I will have my down moments during the semester but as always I will do my utmost to be positive because I find that having a positive mentality can lead to great things and is beneficial in many ways.
Here are some ways I will start my semester off right.
University has a lot of reading. Sometimes these readings are literally the class content(ex: profs who stand in front of the class and read form the textbook) or these readings are necessary to pass the course. But there is literally almost an impossible amount of them. (See picture below of 3/4 of my readings for 3 of my 5 classes)
Now everyone had different ways to this. I have had a prof do a whole lecture on how to skim a reading and still get the main points while I have also had professors test me on a specific word on a specific paragraph of a specific page. My way of things is a bit in the middle of these two approaches. I skim the title of the article, the opening explanation, the section titles, the first two and last two lines of a paragraph and the conclusion for some classes which gives me all the main information and some classes I read in detail as well as highlight and annotate it. It depends on the professors and if they are more like my first example of a professor or my second example.
Because of all the work involved in this my plan for this semester is to stay up to date on the reading because when you fall behind there it’s very unlikely you will catch up. I plan on reading everyday even If I am ahead so that day’s when I am sick or something I couldn’t predict happens I will not need to stress about it.
I spent a long time on my agenda organizing everything. I have my page with daily reminders, work, change in schedule, appointments etc… I then made a sheet on my computer for a weekly checklist of things to do. For example I have the word school readings and underneath 7 boxes so that each day I can check that I have done some school readings for the day. I did a bunch more things to get organized but again I would need another post on the subject which I might do if there is enough interest.
I think this method is really great because A) I won’t forget when to do things, which happens often for me since I am so busy. B) You can visually see what you have achieved when you are feeling low. C) You can set goals for a day and when they are achieved let yourself have some relax time for yourself, this way you won’t work until you crash because you know you are on track and can take that night off for yourself.
3.Take care of your health
This point varies for everyone. For me, I eat when I am stressed and the my body hates me and I start feeling sick and stressed. Because of this I don’t do my work, I then fall behind, feel stressed about falling behind, do nothing because I am stressed and it all goes in a viscous circle where I fall so behind I have trouble catching up or even believing it is possible.
So my goal is to eat healthy(aka limit the junk food and stress eating), drink a lot of water, exercise(which is also a great way to reduce stress).These things will come back around and help me stay on track with school and be able to keep up with a crazy schedule.
So there you have it my main three goals to start the semester right with a healthy mental health and physical health. The main thing to know is that university can be though for everyone in different ways but making the time for yourself and your health is important. On that note when it comes to physical or mental health it can be easy to try and ignore it until you finish that midterm or, finish that essay etc. In reality there is never a good time to go see that doctor, talk to a friend, get some help. There will always be something going on that seems more fun or more urgent. If you need help, don’t wait, go get it there is a ton of resources on almost all university campus’s if not help lines and walk in clinics and more. A google search will bring you some online resources as well or international numbers to talk to someone on the phone. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Of course I hope no one will need to get help and that everyone will have a fantabulous semester but the reality is that’s not the case for a lot of people. I am sending out encouraging thoughts to all of you out there going back to school, work, daily life.
Let me know any goals, tips or how you are starting the semester right if you’re re in university in the comments below or on social media using the #poweredcrowd .
Remember be part of a Powered Crowd and aim to make positive change in both your life and other people’s lives. Take time for yourself, be there for a friend and have a great first part of 2018!