Exams Student-made Support

Studying away from campus tips

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As Christmas break draws near, many of us will be revising for January exams and completing essays from home. Studying away from campus can be challenging, with plenty of distractions and a change of environment from Manchester’s libraries.

To help ease this adjustment, I’ve put together a few tips…

1. Get organised before you leave Manchester.

There’s nothing worse than opening up your laptop and realising you’ve forgotten a book or folder that you need to complete your work – especially when you can’t just dash back and get it!

Before going home, ensure that you have checked out any books that you may need from the library, packed any resources such as notes or textbooks and generally have ensured that everything is in order to allow you to be as productive as possible while at home.

2. Plan out your break.

Deadlines and exam season can be overwhelming, and the distraction of the festive season can make it feel all the more so. Organising your workload and creating a plan can ease this stress.

Start by creating a large to-do list of everything you need to complete before term restarts. I like to organise this by module, adding the date that tasks need to be completed by too. You may also need to add a ‘misc’ category or a category for any responsibilities you have connected to extracurricular activities.

Using this large list, have a look at your plans for the break and create a rough idea of when you will complete what. Use a calendar app or draw out a rough timetable to do so. This doesn’t have to be rigid, but it will help you stay on track and stop you from leaving everything to the last minute.

3. Separate work and relaxation.

The change of environment can be distracting when studying off-campus, and I can find it difficult to get into the headspace to study while at home. If you’re like me and associate being off-campus with fun and relaxation rather than work, creating clear boundaries between the two is important.

This can be done by designating an area of your house specifically for work if possible, such as a spare room or desk. This should be away from where you spend your free time- definitely not your bed or the sofa!

Another great way to create these boundaries is to study in a local café or library. This gets you out of the house and into a new environment, helping with focus.

4. Know where to go for off campus support.

Being away from campus doesn’t mean you are alone, and there are plenty of resources available to you outside of term time should you need them. The SU Advice Service is open to ring or email on weekdays, and can help with a range of issues such as academic support, housing, student life and finance.

For mental health support, the University’s nightline service is available to email 24 hours a day, every day, at nightmail@manchester.nightline.ac.uk and is run by specially trained volunteers.

5. It’s called Christmas break for a reason – remember that!

Although your workload may be heavy, this is meant to be a time to unwind and look after yourself after a busy and stressful term. Taking a break is essential, and you will risk burning out if not.

Enjoy spending time with family and friends, get into the festive spirit, celebrate the new year and treat yourself kindly. Balance is healthy and you deserve it.

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