Posted on Tue 31 May 2016 at 15:47 by Luke Pilot
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Term 3. Hundreds of you are descending upon any study space you can find on campus to slog away at drawing mind maps and diagrams from dawn ’til dusk, all the while potentially cashing in on Rootes Grocery Store’s tactically-timed sale on energy drinks. We have seen an unprecedented level of students experiencing poor mental wellbeing in the build up to their exams, during long stints in labs or writing their dissertations. While there is a needless amount of pressure often placed on students to study for too long and perform well, however, there are ways we can challenge this and ensure your wellbeing comes first.
In keeping with the SU’s annual Feel Good campaign, here are a few tips you can employ to support your wellbeing and that of your friends:
1. Don’t over-work yourself. If you are working from 8am until 9pm, you are working for too long - you are going to exhaust yourself, be less efficient and this will impact negatively on your wellbeing. Set a time limit on how long you are going to work – and, when that time is up, pack up, get out of that study space and switch off!
2. Do just that: switch off! Make sure that when you are finished studying, you are relaxing or doing something you enjoy. The exam period is not a time to punish or deprive yourself of the things that you enjoy doing. Maintaining your non-exam schedule of engaging in your hobbies or relaxation exercises is essential for your wellbeing.
3. Take a break. Not just for people who like Kit-Kats - make sure you regularly take your head out of the textbooks, leave your work station, get some fresh air and go think and talk about something that isn’t your course with an actual person.
4. Sleep. It’s incredibly important; make sure you get lots of it. If you’re not sleeping well, do a bit of reading on sleep hygiene and assess what you can do differently in the build up to your night-time routine.
5. Look out for each other. Look out for signs of distress or struggle in your friends and ask them how they are. Signpost them to help if you think they might need it. Recommend revision tips, revise with each other and teach someone a module – looking out for each other could not only benefit your wellbeing, but your studies too.
6. If you’re struggling, talk to someone. Be it a Sabbatical Officer, a friend, your personal tutor, the SU Advice Centre, Nightline, Student Support, Counselling or an external charity like Mind or Samaritans - if you are struggling, need help or just need someone to talk to, get in contact with someone.
And PLEASE REMEMBER: if you encounter an emergency or an issue occurs on the day of an exam or when you are supposed to be sitting an exam, you MUST speak to your personal tutor or the SU Advice Centre IMMEDIATELY - almost any problem regarding an exam can be fixed.
Of course, all of this is so true when you have finished too. Once you have finished your exams, rest up, relax, see friends and family, catch up on Game of Thrones or play that new Xbox game for a week straight. But also consider the summer ahead and think about the future – if you are not finishing your degree, make some plans for the summer, be it some work experience, getting a job or applying for a research programme. If the future isn’t quite set in stone for you yet, don’t panic. Speak to Careers & Skills or take some time out to assess your opportunities! There are plenty out there, especially if you just want to take things easy for a while; there really is no rush to start a career right away.
I want to finish with a little reminder of a message that I and my colleagues nationally like to bust out during exam periods and just before results are announced. You are more than your productivity. This is a reminder that that exam you are worried about or that assignment you are concerned isn’t good enough and supposedly “determines your future” really is not that big a deal. How you have spent your time at university - and how you spend your time beyond Warwick, no matter what you achieved academically - says more about you than any number on a certificate. You owe it to yourself to be someone you are comfortable with, not what an institution or employer wants you to be. Do what makes you happy, and the rest will follow!