Avoiding Some Hidden Pitfalls of First Year

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Yes, yes, you’ve seen the title, and you’ve rolled your eyes, assuming the following to be one of those ‘self-aware’ articles regurgitating the same sort of advice; don’t drink too much, eat something other than noodles, try to pay attention in lectures, so on so forth. Although most of those cover a respectfully broad set of subjects, they often fail to notice some of the smaller niggles that can often just be a real pain on a day-to-day basis. A lot of little things can get annoying so if you want to get one up on them before they rear their ugly heads, read on.

First and foremost, your timetable. It might be a pot-holed mess, or practically non-existent. In the case of the former, running out to a lecture only to go back home, then have to leave again half an hour will probably tire you out and inevitably cause some stress. But what if you still want the comforts of your room?  The best way to get around this is to prepare like an Arctic explorer. Carry some food with you, get some decent music and find a seat somewhere in the learning zone (or the library, if you can find one). There’s nothing worse than rushing about all day on an empty stomach then eating a mountain of food before bed just to make up for it. Not only that, but if you don’t bring food for a long day, you’ll probably buy some on campus and doing so every day for convenience gets expensive very quickly. If it’s the latter however you’re going to need to put work in sometimes even when you don’t feel up to it. Unless of course you’re ill, in which case do listen your body and don’t feel bad about binging on a packet of Oreos!

Secondly, it’s vital to get a sleeping routine and stick to it, as best you can. Aside from the occasional foray into the land of lost-souls (many call it ‘Sugar’), keeping a wake-up time helps you deal with any early-morning exploits and avoid the chagrin of turning up late to seminars or lectures (if you do turn up!). ‘Sleep-hygiene’ extends from this, which entails reducing electronics activity whilst sat or lying in bed, as it stimulates brain activity, late in the evening. Of course, if you’re naturally nocturnal or tend to work better into the late hours, then using something such as ‘f.lux’ (which reduces the intensity of blue light in computer screens, closer towards sunset) might be beneficial. This allegedly prevents the body inhibiting the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm; the sleep cycle.

Lastly, you’re going to miss home-cooked food. That’s a fact, and unless you’ve already mastered a few secret home recipes, there’ll be times when you cook something, only to wonder why you put so much effort in to make something that tastes boring. Good food is a morale-booster, and eating average or even poorly cooked food (we’ve all burnt something one time or another!) can be pretty depressing. Get around this by quickly learning a few basic recipes which you can build upon. Going out and investing in a cupboard of herbs can also make food taste infinitely better, especially once you’ve got the hang of the hob (or the fire-extinguisher!)

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