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Summer term, the term of deadlines, exams and anxiety. We all dread it whatever year we’re in but it doesn’t have to be all that bad. There are ways to make it more than just work, work, work…
You are not alone. Everyone has deadlines and exams during summer term so find strength in numbers, group together and go through the highs and lows of revision together. Study groups allow you to learn from others and for others to learn from you. Learning from each other is great as it maximises your chances of finding the most effective working methods for you. It also reduces the anxiety that comes when you’re working alone, you’ve hit the brick wall and start thinking about how hard everyone else is working. Group work equals motivating allies so start forming one now. Just make sure everyone is doing their part, which I’m sure they will – degrees aren’t cheap these days!
Group work isn’t for everyone however. A nice bit of you time is good as well. When you’re stressed or in the ‘zone’ it can be therapeutic to have some alone time to make sense of your thoughts. So why not go for walks, exercise, Netflix and chill, whatever helps put you in the best mood for working productively.
You’ll find this term a lot easier if you can remain motivated which is easier said than done. The stuff you’re revising is probably the bane of your life by now, so try to look beyond it. Make study break plans and plans for when work and exams are all done with. Your friends will want to do something fun too and knowing the fun is coming can really help, you’ll want to work hard because you know that it will balanced out with social amazingness afterwards.
As my first year flatmate told me: “greed is a great motivator”, so a few tasty snacks after completing a fair amount of revision is allowed. Just remember the whole healthy body, healthy mind thing too – eat well, if you want to perform well.
Uni life is incredibly fast paced so it’s quite easy to go through the whole year barely seeing certain friends. The summer holidays last a long time and some of us won’t be back next year, so now’s the time to start catching up. I know this might seem hard with the prospect of exams but no one should be working all day everyday – it’s not healthy. Seeing the odd friend here and there won’t hurt, it’ll act as a nice distraction from work and lift your spirits so that when you do return to it you’ll feel more motivated.
Staying on the topic of social interaction, this term is often a quieter time for societies and you’re probably too busy to join any new ones. I would however suggest that you make the best of the ones you are a part of. Weekly socials probably aren’t going happen and if they are, they will be hard to keep up with but try and get one or two. Maybe you’re in a society that doesn’t meet at all this term? Why not try and get people together for some form of catch-up, an exam break social – where you can plan the post-exam party! Seeing familiar faces is a comfort, a reminder that there will be a return to normality eventually.
Remember exams don’t last for ever – they will be over. No one wants to worry about packing for home straightway, that’s just another big stress, so I’d recommend you stick around in Lancaster because there’s plenty of fun to be had.
As I said before you might want to make post-exam plans with friends however I’m aware that this might be distracting during times of heavy workload. It’s fine to make plans once exams are over and if you do I’d recommend the spontaneous kind – meet, someone suggest a place/activity and you go there – it’s even better if one of you has a car. I enjoyed a couple of last minute trips to a farm last term to escape from the perils of work and I’m looking forward to going to even wilder places this term. Knowing you’re doing something random and/or largely unplanned is exciting in itself and encourages you to make the crazy memories that every student should have from their time at uni.
The quietness that follows exam period can lead to boredom. We’ve spent the whole year dreaming of days of no work but now we’re stuck for something to do. You could get a head start on next year’s work. Nothing too drastic though! Your brain deserves a rest. Last summer term I started reading a book for this year and although it was work, I like reading, so I was able to get a head start and enjoy some relaxing reading sessions on the rare sunny Lancaster days.
Finally Week 10 – Extravs, the perfect way to end the year. Whether you’re a party animal or not, they’re so much fun. It’s about dressing up in ridiculous or not so ridiculous costumes with your friends and enjoying food, music and other entertainment. They’re a great place to catch up with people, in particular if you go to your own college’s extrav where you’ll see all the faces from your time at Lancaster which is particularly nice for final year students such as myself.
This term is most probably going to be a rollercoaster ride, there’ll be major down points but if you hang on for those highs there are countless possibilities for fun. Academic success in itself is good for our mood but a great social life alongside it is a great thing to strive for. So don’t let work be the defining aspect of summer term when you look back at it. This is my final term at Lancaster and I don’t plan on letting work dominate my memories, I want the fun that me and my friends create to be. I hope you’re all able to do the same!