I’m coming to the end of my semester, and all there is now is assignments on assignments to finish off and submit. I really struggle with focusing on them though, but thankfully University College Birmingham has a great range of places that help me focus.
Open now from 8:30am until 9pm on weekdays, the library is where I get my best work done. Your reading lists will involve a fair amount of online books but personally I find a hard copy so much better to use. You can get the reference and information you need without having to trawl through loads of tabs and inevitably getting distracted. The library is also useful because there are so many people there who can help you with improving your writing and finding sources.
Ultimately though I think you’ll either take advantage of it often or you will never go. I find it super helpful. I wouldn’t have completed many of my assignments without it, however I think it depends on your mindset. I can’t do good work from my house, I’ll simply fall asleep, so a decent working environment is paramount.
The other place which is great for getting on and writing is the workspace and canteen in McIntyre House. The big draw here is the Starbucks coffee and the food. You can get a Grande for £1.80 which is better than working in any other coffee shop. Aside from the coffee this space is much more relaxed than in the library, my friends and I have often found it helpful to come here to work on group projects or just complete our work together.
Just Do It!
So I am definitely an overthinker and I’ll let my work drag on, I’ll always want to wait until I know exactly what I’m doing before I properly start my assignment. But I’ve learned that this is not ideal – it leads to a big pile-up of stress, stops me from sleeping, being able to be still and I distance myself from everyone around me. Other groups of people don’t have this issue, they can simply start something, write away and often struggle with going off-key rather than reaching word counts.
After 3 years of uni, my main piece of advice for fellow overthinkers is just to do something, anything. So by this I mean if you have your brief, work out what key areas you need to include and write out subtitles to show where your assignment is going to go. Structure your introduction based off these points and reword the question you have been given to show how your topic fits it.
Just to encourage everyone who has made it through this semester: you got this. It’s been a challenging year with online lectures and lockdowns but we made it through.