My last blog until after exams (*sigh of relief*). I thought I’d address the topic on everyone’s lips, the cause of acne breakouts and constant snacking; EXAMS. Think yourself lucky if your exam days are over, but we all suffer from the S-word. Not just ‘desserts’ spelled backward, stress affects our physical and mental health. So, if you’re still snuffly and popping antihistamines is no use, listen up!
Here’s an anagram (BIOVET) I created to discuss my top tips for surviving exam season and avoiding procrastination, we’re all guilty of it, you’re doing it right now let’s be honest…
Life’s a balancing act and trying to keep your calm is a constant struggle. Sometimes we end up prioritizing the easier, more entertaining things – the first night out after exams is always a messy one… Staying focused is all about maintaining interest, and revision is the ultimate challenge. We’re creatures of habit when it comes to revision, especially after 6 years. Trying new techniques like mind-maps, anagrams and flash cards, can help keep boredom at bay. I’ve said it before, variety is the spice of life, so do yourself a favour and mix things up a little. Try having your tea outside or revising in a new study space (free coffee at Caffe Nero with O2 priority, you can thank me later).
My 2017 resolution was to write a daily diary, inspired by my house mate Floss. Besides reading over hilarious memories in years to come, I realized a day-to-day diary can become repetitive if you do the same, boring things every day. Reflecting on my day motivates me to keep busy, with some days more eventful than others and some nights especially. Although, sometimes we have to restrict ourselves, especially during exams. A diary is also great for your short-term memory and a way of letting go of negative thoughts or bitchy comments, whatever brings you down. Social media is a double-edged sword when it comes to motivation. I always think “out of sight, out of mind”, be it a packet of biscuits or following people and pages that bring you down. I’m extremely motivated and positive but I still have my doubts. Writing my blog reminds me how far I’ve come and why I’ve got to keep going. Hopefully, it inspires you too!
Having a plan for the day sounds pretty simple, but it’s easy to avoid and end up wasting what could have been a productive day. Somethings are unplanned like illness and hangovers, to an extent. Sticking to a revision timetable can be tedious but I like knowing when I’m ‘done’ for the day. Time-tabling “revision” is pointless, try dividing each subject/ module into topics, selecting a combination of these topics from different subjects/ modules to revise over the days you have available. Psychologically, we love the satisfaction of ticking boxes; a to-do list is a great way of staying on track, even if it just looks like you’ve got your shit together.
We know the benefits of a healthy, balanced diet but we still get cravings, especially at 4 am; chicken wings and garlic bread with cheese (I’d recommend Shiraz, although Gemini is cheaper). Coming back to the reality of student life after the luxury of FREE, cooked meals over the holidays is always hard. Fortunately, I came to uni fully equipped with utensils, recipes and freezer bags. Meal prep is my middle name and ALDI is my best-friend but we all have to start somewhere. Learning how to cook and the importance of eating veggies is something you learn in first year (Fresher’s flu is not a joke). Self-control is particularly hard when we’re stressed, bored or tired. Exam time is the worst time to start thinking about dieting– if you want the cake, eat it! I’ve never been one to skip meals but stress can suppress the appetite so it’s important to keep yourself fuelled and hydrated. As a serial snacker I ‘treat myself’ and take ‘brain food’ to new levels. So much so that after Lent the other year I decided to give up chocolate and biscuits a little longer seen as I’d snacked a lot less since giving up. I’ve now discovered a love of flapjack so now I’m back to square one (no pun intended).
As if you weren’t crying enough over exams, the comfort eating and late-night trips to the reduced section are starting to show (two trifles for 20p, would be rude not to). Whilst procrastinating on Insta, watching workout vids, you realize there’s more chance of passing your exams than getting a fit summer bod. Time to let off some stream, run away from your problems and let your body do some crying. 1 hour of exercise is just 4% of your day that you’d probably spend eating or on social media. Find yourself a playlist on Spotify and drag the house mates along for a trot around campus, quick shower (you needed one anyway), cup of tea and back to revision – simple as that. Some fresh air to clear the mind, the sun on your pasty skin. It’s raining and you’re not northern – go for a swim. Your (overpriced) CK bralette is doing nothing to support the boob department – try yoga or pilates, engage the core people. Multitasking just got a whole lot easier, team sports are a great way to socialize AND exercise at the same time! We’re not all gym bunnies and you don’t have to have THE latest ombre Gym Shark leggings to enjoy the benefits of exercise. A little perspiration goes a long way: the release of endorphins and adrenaline makes you happy and relaxed. A time-tabled revision break helping you maintain focus and you can snack guilt free.
I’m a busy bee and time is always against me. Without my academic diary I’d be a mess – I never rely on my phone calendar. Other than sport, i have committee meetings, bio-vet meetings, volunteering, Heebies and blog writing to schedule in between lectures and work. I can assure you the best way to stay in control and reduce stress comes from organizing your time. Sometimes I forget to chill and ‘switch off’, not just sleeping. I’m pretty much useless past 9 pm so I save this time for relaxing which helps my brain to concentrate on the important stuff. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how to revise, but hope I have inspired you to try something different even if it’s a change of scenery from the sweaty library.The best time is now, whatever it is! Best of luck to everyone with exams!
Here’s a link to a video that changed my outlook on cancer (start 2 mins in and stop at 6 mins).
This weekend’s challenge; the Swimathon, is my first ever swimming competition. I’ll be swimming my legs off for Cancer Research and Marie Curie, donating my sponsors in thanks to their discovery and delivery of treatment and support to my family and friends. CANCER IS EVERYWHERE! It can be triggered at any time, inside any single or multiple body cells (35 trillion), spreading like wild fire. Doing nothing or sitting around worrying won’t save lives, but we can easily donate our spare change. STUDENTS if you haven’t any money (like me) you can give your time.
Dinner at the docks
Revision break run
Home study buddy
Teaching young dogs new tricks