From the beginning of semester two I had found myself in a slump. Four weeks in, and with the exception of my once a week tutorial and lab session (which were conveniently on the same day), I hadn’t stepped foot into any of my university lectures and as a biosciences and language student this was a very dangerous place to be in. The only reason I had even made it in for my tutorial and lab session is because they were compulsory if I didn’t want to fail first year. I was in a slump that I was desperate to get out of before it was too late.
In case you find yourself feeling the same way (which is perfectly okay by the way!), here are the steps I took to overcome my slump and get back on track.
1. Find a new study space
Sometimes you just need a change of surroundings to help change your mindset, so find a new spot that helps motivate you to complete your work. Whether that be a coffee shop where you can use sweet treats to keep you going, or a quiet library whose silence will help stop you getting distracted every five minutes. The most important thing is to figure out what works for you.
2. Start going to your lectures
Personally, I found it better to just join in with my lectures instead of delaying even further to catch up as I believed I would inevitably feel more and more overwhelmed the further my course went on without me. It is often the anticipation of going to a lecture that makes going difficult and once you’re finally there you realise it’s not so bad and you can show up again next week. However, I still had to catch up of the past 4 weeks of work that I missed which leads to my next tip.
3. Write a list of everything you have missed
I went through blackboard and wrote a list of all the lectures, language classes and assessments that I had to do making sure I noted the date for any assessments. Luckily I hadn’t missed any due dates as assessments and coursework generally start in weeks 3 or 4 and you’re given two weeks to do them. I prioritised lectures and classes I would need for my assessments first but these were based on introductory modules anyway, before allocating two or three items from my ‘“catch up list” per day to complete on top of my regular uni schedule. I would suggest upping this number on weekends, but equally you could stick to three or four if you still need time to look after your mental health
4. Book a study space
Even libraries can be noisy so I would suggest picking a day, booking a study space, and just going there by yourself with the intention of completing your work – no distractions allowed. My personal favourite spot is third floor of Ali G (more formally known as the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons). I’m someone who likes to work in silence, not with music so I brought a packed lunch and worked alone, with no noise, for 9 hours. My level of motivation surprised even myself and I was back the next day following the same routine.
5. Know there are people you can reach out to
If you feel like your “slump” may be something a little more serious, be aware there are services on campus you can go to for counselling and advice. You can even email your academic advisor and tell them how you’re feeling. They’ve seen many student over the years and you certainly will not have been the first to feel this way.