Unfortunately, I don’t have ‘Reading Week’ but I’m sure many of you do. Reading week is the perfect chance to catch up on work and reading that might have caught up on you during the weeks before. Second-year is proving to be more challenging, in terms of the workload but not the actual content. I’ve already had a few moments where I’ve had to write in my diary and plan when my assignments and exams are before Christmas. Organising your work with a diary can be a good way to remain focused on what you need to do. I’m sure throughout your university experience, you will at some point have a breakdown about either workload,  not understanding the content of the work, deadlines or even failures in assignments. I have listed a few things below that you should take into account and remember.


– Understand that stress is common. If you don’t have a breakdown or a spell of stress, then are you even at University? Even the most relaxed and organised of people will experience some sort of stress at some point. So you are not alone.


– The worst thing you can do is stress. I know it’s easier said than done but if you stress, you’ll make the situation worse. Take some time off from what you are doing to focus on something else (make yourself a cup of tea). Then when you decide that you’ve cleared your head, go back to your work with a fresh mind. There is nothing worse than forcing yourself to do something that you don’t want to do, so take a break.


– Giving up = Failure. Giving up in my eyes is a failure. Things will get hard at university. It’s not meant to be easy and no matter how hard things get or how much you want to break down, DON’T! Keep positive about everything you’ve accomplished so far. You can easily get advice and support from friends/family and the university. Just think that you CAN do it.


– Engage in discussions in class and don’t be afraid to speak up. Admittedly shy people will find this difficult. Taking part in class discussions and fully engaging with the content of the work will better your understanding of it. If you don’t feel that something is right, tell the lecturer. Just remember…it is your degree, you’re paying for it and you are allowed to have an opinion.


– Try harder. I’ve been pretty lucky this term, as I have met and worked with some lovely people who strive to do well. So group work isn’t a problem for me and the individual assignments have been quite straight forward. I have had times this term where I wanted to give up however, I realised that if I want to get the best classification of degree then I need to try harder. It only takes a little more effort to get where you want to be in life.


– Make work fun. This might sound a bit cliché. I know how horrible an essay or literature review can be, so make your work fun. It can be easier to do than you think. Using colour in your notes and creating and playing games to help you with your studies can make that review or revision more fun than it really is. Putting more effort into your studies, by making it fun will have its benefits in the near future (your exam and deadline period).


– Go to the right people. If you really are struggling, there are people who can help. Lecturers, librarians, student services and mentors are there to help if you are stuck in a rut or are finding it all difficult. The services are there to be used, so don’t feel like you can’t go to them. 


– Be proud of what you have achieved so far. Getting into university in the first place is an achievement in itself. Be proud of what you have achieved. If you’re not proud, then is there really much point in pursuing what you’re doing? I believe that success is a mix of the will to do something and actually achieving it. Keep motivated and be proud of yourself!