Well two weeks into 2021 and I’m ready to turn over, bury my head in the pillow and sleep until 2022.
Arguing to look on the bright side of things seems futile; we are now in the worst stage of the coronavirus pandemic and we’ve been stuck in isolating measures for months. Obviously, the rules are necessary as the virus is causing so much harm and taking so many lives, but it’s hard to not feel disheartened and frustrated with still being stuck in your bedroom watching online lectures or writing assignments alone. I feel like a lot of my previous methods of working are starting to not work so well, however I do keep plodding along with my degree and I’ve got a few things that I have personally found really helpful in making my days productive when that seems hard to achieve.
So I’ve received a few pieces of advice before about assigning set time to focus on uni, with breaks scheduled in or little rewards like 2 hours of work and then 30 minutes to play on the Switch, for example. Personally, I think these methods are terrible. If they work for you then brilliant, but for me all it does is turn my uni work into a punishment and everything else in my life becomes infinitely more interesting. I’m not writing an essay paragraph so I can have a bacon sandwich in 30 minutes, I’m writing it because I chose to come onto this course to learn and I want to develop my understanding in a certain area. So while these methods seem like a organised plan to begin with, I’ve found they lead me to writing without really engaging my brain in the best way.
Break up the Absence
Depending on your timetable you might have a stretch of days with no lectures at all. My lectures are bunched together between Wednesday and Friday which means I have a big gap with no contact with Uni every week. If I’m ever going to slip back into despair or feeling overwhelmed by work, it’s going to be in this period where I feel a bit isolated and assume I’m falling behind everyone else. My solution to this has been to plan a regular Zoom meeting on Monday morning at 10:30am with my Uni friends. This gives us a reason to get up on Monday and we can ask each other about assignments and just give each other a bit of a boost.
Restarting Bad Days
Some days just don’t go well – maybe you miss an appointment, or you just waste the whole morning doing nothing. It’s okay, the day still has plenty of opportunity left in it. In these situations, I’ve found it good to stop, tidy my area, have a shower, shave and tidy my hair and then get changed into fairly smart clothes, not my comfy trackies. Although it may seem a bit pointless, just achieving small things like this can get you into a space where you’re more focused to work and less inclined to relax or slip into a scrolling hole.
It really is okay to not be okay
These times are difficult and getting stuff done is hard! It’s okay, if you don’t feel like you are doing your best work, the key is just to keep on going. I often feel like I need to do something perfectly and I overthink the amount I need to get done. If you find yourself thinking like this, it’s best just to do something, even if you think you’ve done it badly or you haven’t put enough effort into it. This isn’t about not doing your best, this is about not letting your fear of failing stop you from even trying. If you do some action then you have put in effort and you will complete your work!
Hope you are all staying safe and maybe some of this resonates with you. I know that some people somehow thrive in this situation but for many of us, all the little things seem like a lot more work. If you find yourself struggling beyond this, I’d really recommend you get in touch with the University College Birmingham wellbeing team.