Saturday, May 25Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

8 QUICK TIPS on Making Term 2 Work for you!

So the New Year’s finally come round. 2020, the kickstart of a banging new decade and a whole new chapter in your life, beaming with that lustre of fresh opportunities just waiting to be seized. You’ve made it! Putting on your shades and strutting off into term two slow-mo style, you’ve left the flaming wreck that had been 2019 in your dust, just like those iconic movie scenes where the cool guy walks away from an explosion. As the cliché goes, New Year, New You. High time to throw your hat in the ring and do some big things- whether you’re thinking of finally applying for that job at the SU, joining that society, or getting the hottie you’d been eyeing for so long; this is your moment to take a chance and make a change. And all those unfortunate mishaps from term one? Like the time you drunkenly poured two whole VK’s over your friend’s head who refused to talk to you for a week after, or the mortifying moment you tripped over your own foot and fell down the stairs right in front of ten other students, including *that one person*? Never happened. Zero. Zip. Nada. Absolutely no clue what that’s all about. Wonder what noob of a fresher could have done that? Definitely not you!

Two weeks deep into the second term, you may already have settled right down to achieving your personal goals. With most of last term’s stress off your hook, the consistent worries that have kept your head spinning for what seemed like forever have finally toned down (I should hope). All that jazz of settling in, making enough friends, keeping up with academic demands whilst also having to set aside enough time for a social life, finding a decent house for next year, all while trying your best to keep it positive, stay healthy and not die inside has taken its toll, and is now behind you. Life may have been a little tough on you these past few months but hey, you are tougher! If you’re a forward thinker, I congratulate you- one thing every broke, stressed-out student needs is a purpose, spiced up with just enough motivation to gear up and act towards your ambitions. Maybe also a Starbucks. And a few good friends. And a reasonable ensuite bathroom, a problem you will only truly understand if you’re living or have lived at Kingswood.

However, on the other hand, this isn’t always the case for everyone, and it might not necessarily be the case for you. Coming back after the winter hols, that long festive period of chillaxing, spending time with family and catching up with old friends will infallibly lead to one of two possibilities: you will either have returned feeling excited and filled with a new sense of purpose, ready to truly put yourself out there and mingle; or, au contraire, you might still find yourself sitting in your room until 3 AM on a Sunday night, pondering over the meaning of life. Term two already? How could this have happened so quickly? What will you do, where will you start and is dropping out, changing your name and moving to Australia an option?

Finding a level of difficulty in readjusting to the dynamic nature of student life, especially after a break, is an understandable issue that the fair majority of us will experience at one point or another and isn’t at all uncommon. Of course, different people will take varying amounts of time to step back into the unique rhythm of uni. Some may find readjustment more of an inconvenience than others for a plethora of reasons, but it’s nothing a bit of optimism, well-organized schedule and healthy lifestyle can’t solve! So if you’re feeling a bit lost and demotivated this term, here are a couple of tips that should help you turn things around:

  1. Think about your priorities

What is it you most want to get out of this term? Is there one thing you want above everything else, or are there a number of targets you’re aiming to hit but can’t decide which one to start with? Try listing these priorities beginning with what you’d say is most important to you right now – make plans! You can’t hit the battlefield without a plan of action.

  1. Ask yourself if you’re prioritizing the right things

Is this useful? Does it make me happy? Does it contribute to personal growth and will it be helpful in the long run? Stop chasing the cute girl bro, if she’s not into you it’s just not worth the trouble. You could be joining the rugby team or writing letters to politicians.

  1. Keep a diary

I don’t necessarily mean the cheesy type we kept under lock and key when we were 12. I mean an adult diary. I mean a schedule. Think about what you have to do in advance and jot down any plans you have for the next day- if you have a lot on your plate, this is one efficient way to keep track of it all. Also, make sure you have at least a rough idea of time frame- you won’t know how much you’ll manage to get done in a day unless you estimate how long each activity is going to take.

  1. Do the boring stuff first

We all hate the work, come on. All those readings, the essays, the stress…ugh. It’s way too easy to tell yourself “I have time, I’ll do it later”, although ironically you already know that leaving your studies for last minute is never a good idea. Staying up till 4 in the morning doing a week’s worth of work isn’t the sexiest feeling. So do the work first, get it off your conscience, then get out there and do what you enjoy! Without the worry of those 3 impending essays, your SU night will suddenly seem so much funnier.

  1. Don’t overdo it

An excess of anything is obviously not going to be any good! Study seriously, but don’t isolate yourself from society; spend time with friends, but don’t forget you also need some me-time; take a night out, but don’t go out every night because you’re gonna die. You get the picture. Do things in moderation and fit it all into a healthy, personalized routine that works for you. This may not happen straight away, but as you continue to learn from experience, discovering what works and what doesn’t; you’ll naturally begin to make certain adjustments to your life and will be going with the flow before you know it!

  1. Limit distractions

Stop checking your phone every 10 minutes. That conversation the group chat’s having about burnt toast can’t be more important than what you’re supposed to be doing right now. Try setting aside certain times of the day to answer messages. Addiction to social media is just another headache- trust me, I would know.

  1. Build healthy habits

Hit the gym. Go for a jog. Exercise is a must-do for so many reasons. A healthy diet is also essential! Make sure you’re getting all those nutrients in there, don’t just make pasta or order pizza every night. There are so many useful student websites that will practically have made your grocery list for you, so if you’re unsure of what to buy, all you need to do is google it and you’ll find more than enough suggestions.

  1. Have fun and chill out

Remember, you’re at university. Legend has it these are the best years of your life, so make the most of them! Build on your strengths and accept your weaknesses, learn to take things as they are and find enjoyment in little victories as well as major events. Keep up with your studies, but don’t forget about hobbies! Follow your innate passions whilst always keeping your mind open to trying new things. Don’t be afraid to experiment- now is the time for you to really get to know yourself, so go for it! The world is yours.