Welcome back to the second instalment of Constantly in Edits, a practical guide on how to cope when everything you thought you knew turns out to be a lie. This month, I’m going to discuss that feeling you get when someone offers advice that should be helpful but sounds far too simple to be effective.
We’ve all had it – that Main Character Moment – where you’re absolutely sure that it will never be you. Whether its risking crossing the road without looking twice or believing that someone’s guidance really might work, it can be tempting to consider yourself special, an exception to things. You are, after all, the protagonist. It’s your world and the rest of us are just living in it.
This feeling is common, natural, and doesn’t mean you’re a narcissist or anything like that. Unfortunately, it can make it more difficult to enact positive change when you’ve hit a bump. Generic, all-purpose advice can seem so utterly out of touch with the reality of struggling as a student that it can be easy to laugh at and ignore, but there are some gems in these more commonly given suggestions that can actually help.
If I had a pound for the number of times I’ve heard (or said) something along the lines of ‘ooooh, that’s great advice, “get some sleep!” now I’ll just be stressed in the daytime instead of at night!’ or ‘cool, I guess eating breakfast and showering is gonna make all my problems go away! No longer stressed, depressed, or in need of a rest!’ in a sarcastic tone, I would probably be able to pay off my student loans. As cathartic as it can be to reject simple advice as stupid, it’s not productive.
These following bits and pieces won’t write your essays for you or solve your anxiety completely, but I would put money on them lessening your everyday stresses just a bit. And every little helps, right?
Get sleep – at night-time!
Once in a while, an all-nighter might be inevitable, but there’s a reason we get tired when it’s dark and wake up if the sun is shining – it’s good for you!
Seriously, just eat it. Something healthy like porridge and fruit is ideal, but anything is better than nothing. I can’t count the number of times I have thought ‘oh I’ll be fine, it’s only an hour-long lecture,’ and regretted it within 15 minutes; that right there is hubris.
There’s nothing worse than putting your notes down on a Friday and donning your dancing shoes for a care-free weekend, then realising you’ve got a huge piece of coursework due on the Monday. Try to make a habit of planning your workload at the start of the week so you know what’s due when and can make the most of your time off.
Seeing the sun in Manchester is a rare treat in and of itself, so when the weather’s nice, give yourself permission to enjoy it. You’ll thank me for the vitamin D boost, I promise. And, even when the clouds are grey and the rain is lashing, a little bit of time in the outside world, with fresh air and new smells, goes a long way. At the end of the day, we aren’t so different from houseplants – we’re a lot happier when we’re hydrated, in the sun and fresh air. Look after yourself just as you would that cactus you got at the fresher’s houseplant sale – just remember you need more water than him!