The Beauty of Looking Forward

By Zoe Clarke, 2nd year Bio/Music student

When I grow up, I want to be a ___________ (insert super-cool-most-likely-unattainable-potentially-involving-magical-powers-job-here). This phrase has been said by probably every small child under the age of 10. It seems like when we were younger, we just had this beautiful ability to see the glory in what waited next for us around the corner of life. We didn’t worry about the struggles it would take to get there (I mean, it can’t be that hard to become a superhero, am I right?)

So when did this all change? Why, all of the sudden, did our future turn from glorious to grim? From daring to dismal? From brilliant to barren? Why don’t we picture ourselves as these incredible people that we still have the rest of our lives to become, and instead are cowering under the fear of hot, sweaty exam rooms, and assignments that break your wrist? These images seem rather… well… scary! They certainly don’t make you look forward to your next day of class.

So what can we do on those difficult days when it’s just so hard to get out of bed and the day is just too intimidating to face?

Perhaps the key is to keep looking ahead – but let’s look past those textbook readings and assignments that you feel like you can’t possibly finish. Picture yourself in 5 years. Where are you? Are you taking part in a biological research project in Antarctica? Are you published in a well-read newspaper? Are you sitting on a lake with your parents having a picnic? Let me guess – your future image of you doesn’t depend on the mark you got on one 10% paper.

Unfortunately, it can be so easy to blow up little tasks and assignments into such huge deals to worry and stress over. I can’t say I haven’t done it myself! But all too often, we let our homework get the better of us, and it starts affecting our overall health and well-being – our happiness. But it doesn’t have to. Let’s get ourselves out of this loop of worry, shall we?

It all starts with one step in the right direction. Divide that huge assignment into smaller chunks and work until your first checkpoint. Bang. Check! There’s one less thing to worry about. Now schedule in 10 pages of those text readings (not the entire thing, mind you), and put a break at the end to chat with your friends. Check! There’s another task done! Get into a routine of doing at least an hour of homework before your first morning class. Check! There’s a task accomplished already and the day has hardly even begun!

Now look at that – you didn’t get every single thing done, but breaking down some of those large, scary tasks into chunks and getting them under control sure did make you feel on top of things, didn’t it? In fact, you’ve probably even got enough extra time to schedule into your evening to go to swing dance club or go watch a movie with some friends! And there isn’t a single drop of guilt involved.

This is where you let go of some of that unnecessary stress and worry. Every time you pick up a boulder, you don’t have to drop it on your toe, – (please don’t drop it on your toe!) – but, you can instead start chipping away at it and carve it into something beautiful. I mean, the process will be long, but you can dream while you’re at it. Please let yourself dream! Dream about your cool future job. Dream about the look of your shiny new degree hanging on your wall. Dream about exploring the world! If you’re feeling stressed, dream about a time where nothing you’re doing right now will really matter that much, because it will come eventually.

Fill your dreams with hope, love, inspiration, and excitement – rediscover the beauty of looking forward.


Photo courtesy of Lane Pearman under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Beating the Midterm Blues

By Sam Werger, 4th year History student

The end of October, as we know all too well, is quite a busy time of the school year for most of us. Assignments are beginning to pile up. Due dates that seemed so far away in September are rapidly approaching. Midterms abound. To top it all off winter is in the air and the inevitable grey skies and slushy streets are inching closer and closer. All of this can be daunting and it can be all too easy to get down on yourself during this hectic time of year. But there are some simple things we can all do to stay positive and beat the midterm blues.

Take breaks. This may seem counter-intuitive to some of us but it is all too important. We may think we lack the time to take breaks:

“Breaks?! I don’t have time to take a break! I NEED to study for 8 hours straight for my midterm exam on Friday.”

While regular review is immensely important in achieving academic success, it is not the only element of good study habits. Breaks are an absolute must when studying. If you’ve ever been so fortunate to hear a PLA presentation you probably know about the 50/10 rule. For those of you who have not been so fortunate allow me to explain. The 50/10 rule stipulates that you should study for 50 minutes then take a 10-minute break. Since studies have shown that the brain, on average, retains the first 25 minutes of studying and the last 25 minutes the 50/10 rule will boost your focus and help you retain more information. Additionally, the 50/10 rule will keep you out of the doldrums of marathon study sessions. Not only will your focus improve but your overall mood will be more positive if you take productive breaks. Don’t just watch a ten minute YouTube video; go outside and take a stroll down University Avenue or grab a cup of tea in the ARC. This type of active break will keep you refreshed and focused over long study periods.

The 10-minute break is great but sometimes a more substantial break is needed. Too often, we can get trapped in the habit of sitting in Stauffer all day long. This can be productive when done properly (i.e. using the 50/10 rule) but sometimes it’s just too much and can actually be counterproductive. As the days get shorter it isn’t uncommon for many students to see very little sunlight around this time of year. Furthermore, too many of us begin to neglect our mental and physical health. Sitting all day hunched over a laptop is simply not a sustainable practice. The human body requires exercise to keep it healthy. Take a long walk, enjoy the fresh air by the lake, hit the gym for a quick workout, and take the time to cook yourself a nice meal. The key is to stay fresh and energized physically. This will translate into a more positive mood, increased mental alertness and focus, and will improve your studying.

Mental health is especially important at all times of year and during this time of year it can be especially difficult to maintain. It is so easy to get down on yourself this time of year and to dwell on your shortcomings. Even if you’re taking care of your physical health your mental health could still be dragging behind. First, remember that you are not alone. Call your best friend. Call your parents. Call your grandparents (they love when you call). The people who love you the most will always be there to support you. Your emotional well-being is so important and it can have an effect on your academic success. Never hesitate to reach out to your loved ones for support. Try your best to stay positive and remember that this will all soon pass. Keep on working hard and taking the time to take care for yourself. We’re lucky at Queen’s to have people -professionals and volunteers- who want to help you. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the many Queen’s services. Of course, the PLA’s have great learning strategies to help you succeed. There is also the Peer Support Centre and there are professionals on campus who want to help you, such as Student Health.


Photos courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Staying On Top Of It All!

By Anna Farronato, 4th year Con-Ed/Environ. Sci student

Whether you are in the midst of midterms or have a number of papers due, one thing that most students can all agree on is that we are in the middle of one of the busiest and most stressful times of year. Many students are faced with what seems like endless amounts of midterms and large assignments, with course work and readings to top it all off. It is a busy time of year indeed, and these items tend to pile up fast. Deadlines seem weeks away, until you realize that you have left everything till the last minute. Many students assume they will simply be able to stay on top of it all without the required effort; however, that is not always the best plan of action. The middle of the semester certainly has a reputation for putting students behind, and I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling a little bit crunched for time. It’s completely normal to feel like you’ve fallen behind; however, Learning Strategies has some great tips and ticks on how to stay on top of it all for the rest of the semester!

Taking the time to plan and use your time effectively and efficiently is one of the most important strategies for keeping on track. This might seem difficult, but having effective time management is one of the best things you can do to avoid cramming come exam time. A great tool for planning your time is using a weekly schedule or daily to do list. By writing down tasks that need to be completed, this allows for a clear visual representation of how much you have on your plate and allows you to designate the necessary time for each task to be completed. By using these tools, you can schedule in some “catch up” time to complete missed readings, notes, etc. One thing to keep in mind is not spending too much time on catching up that you are falling behind on current content. Given the circumstance, it may or may not be realistic to catch up completely. While it is important to catch up on missed readings, notes, and assignments, prioritization should be involved when allotting time for catch up. For example, if you have fallen behind on 3 weeks of making notes on readings, and you have a ton of other work on your plate, try scaling back the detail of your notes to save time.

Another important tip to help keep up with your course work and prepare you for midterms is to review your notes soon after each lecture. This will make studying way easier, as you will feel much more prepared for when the day of your midterm or test approaches. Scheduling in time to review is just as important as scheduling in time to complete assignments and to study for tests. Paying attention to how much work you can do in a certain period of time, and how quickly you actually read a chapter will be very beneficial for prioritizing your time effectively. It is also important to remember that not all assignments and midterms are “equal” and some courses will be more important or more difficult for you. It is essential that you keep in mind setting realistic goals and prioritizing your time appropriately.

One last tip to help you stay on top of your work is to keep yourself motivated. Getting the motivation to study, do readings and make notes can sometimes be difficult. To help get started, one tip that I like to use is the “5 More Rule.” This means committing to 5 minutes, or 5 pages of reading, or 5 sentences to write. From here, try the 50/10 rule (study for 50 minutes and take a 10 minute break). If the 50/10 rule doesn’t work for you, try setting a different target in terms of time spent on the current activity, or amount of work to be completed. Everyone is different when it comes to how long they can keep concentrated on a task. If you’re finding that distractions are a problem, try working in a quiet place away from friends and turn off your technology. Lastly, remember to think positively, believe in yourself, and reward yourself after reaching your goals.

These are just some of many great tips that Learning Strategies has to offer to help you get back on track with your courses. You can visit the Strategies and Tools page to find more helpful tips and tricks on exam preparation, stress and coping strategies, motivation and concentration, and much more!


Photo courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Getting Involved at University

By Sam Taylor, third-year ConEd English student

Queen’s Yoga Club A Grant Hall welcome! Queen’s Bands performing at Homecoming 2016

Sometimes the most difficult step is the first one. Whether you are in your first year of university or your last, there is some way that everyone can become involved. When I made my transition from high school to university, I personally found it challenging to get involved. I felt like there were just so many people here and I was very overwhelmed by the amount of information I was receiving that I didn’t put myself out there. Unfortunately, this is something I regret doing. In order for you all to learn from my mistakes, here are a few tips on getting involved in university!


Why Should I Get Involved?

One of the main reasons why you should become involved is because it transforms your overall experience as a student. Joining a new club or team gives you the opportunity to be put into situations where there are new people with various interests and experiences; sometimes these things are different from your own! These people could become some of your closest friends or even teach you something new that you might not have known without meeting them.

Existere: Social action theatre group that aims to raise awareness around important issues relevant to first-year students coming to Queen’s, including living in residence, academics, health, violence, sex, alcohol, and diversity.

Finding various ways to meet new people helps give you a sense of belonging in this new environment. As I mentioned above, in my first year I was overwhelmed by the amount of people at the university in comparison to my high school. Thus, sometimes I felt like I was just another student at the university and I wasn’t playing a critical role here. It was in second year when I expanded my horizons and joined three different clubs that I began to feel more confident about my place as a student here.

Another beneficial aspect of getting involved as a student is the amount it can benefit you after you graduate. Employers are looking for well-rounded employees. These well-rounded employees were once students who became involved with more than just their school work. Being immersed in a variety of ways at work or school helps to shape your character and also positively influences the environment around you.


Queen’s Recreation and Services

Ways to Get Involved!

My best advice on choosing something to become involved with is joining something that you care about. By joining a club or team that you are passionate about, it will be more enjoyable and easier to balance amongst school work and other aspects of your busy schedule. If you cannot seem to find a club that best suits you, create one! Queen’s University consists of 270+ clubs that are student run. So go ahead, get involved!


Photos courtesy of Hillary Newediuk (Queen’s Yoga Club), Queen’s University and Queen’s Recreation and Services under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0

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Making Molehills out of Mount Doom

By Sophie Lachapelle, third-year Health Studies and Global Development student

Let’s talk about The Lord of the Rings. Frodo the hobbit was given the mission of destroying the One Ring, essentially destroying all evil in the world. As you could expect, the journey wasn’t completed in a one shot attempt. Frodo, with the Fellowship of the Ring, worked tirelessly for months to reach his goal while making sacrifices along the way. As we all know, the Ring was destroyed, Lord Sauron was defeated, and Middle Earth experienced peace once again.

Okay, back to Queen’s University in Kingston for a second. We’re still lamenting the end of Thanksgiving and perhaps recovering from Homecoming Weekend – why are we talking about Lord of the Rings? Although I am a big fan of the movies, there is a lesson to be learned here.

Who has a big project (or two, or five) due sometime in the next seven weeks of class? Ya, me too. Don’t those titles like “Final Term Essay” or “Group Project Discussing Everything We’ve Ever Learned” sound a bit intimidating? I’m sure that Frodo felt the same way when Lord Elrond gave him the Ring to destroy. It would be really easy right now to ride the holiday train a few more weeks and put off starting those mountainous projects. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the sheer grade-weight that this project will have on your final mark, I suggest you follow Frodo’s example: take it one phase at a time. As we say at Learning Strategies, “Make molehills out of mountains.

When I write an essay, I break it into four stages: research, outline, a rough draft, and a final draft. I generally try to leave a week for each stage so that I’m not racing against time two days before the deadline. Frodo and his friends did something similar; their journey was broken up into crossing smaller geographical distances, instead of traversing the whole of Middle Earth in one go. Not only did breaking up the journey re-energize Frodo to take on the next stage, it gave him the motivation and pressure he needed to continue.

Try breaking up your projects into more manageable steps and you’ll be more likely to start them earlier, put more effort into the final results, and finish with a higher degree of satisfaction. If you need some help breaking up your projects, head on over to the Queen’s Learning Commons’ Assignment Calculator and simply enter the desired project start and end dates to see a schedule of smaller, easier-to-complete deadlines!

If you’re like me and you like to see when projects are due ahead of time, print off a couple copies of the Learning Strategies Term Calendar Template! This term calendar will help you visualize each deadline in relation to the others – an important thing to keep in mind when you have more than one final project!

Although these last seven weeks may feel like you’re travelling through Middle Earth on a nearly impossible mission, remember that if Frodo can climb up Mount Doom to destroy the Ring, you can finish this project. You’ve got this.


Photo courtesy of Antoine Skipper under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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“Not just about the marks you get, but the marks you make”

By Nicole Teplin, third-year Con-Ed Psych/Religious Studies student

There is such a heavy emphasis placed on the grades you get in university. We strive for perfection and are disappointed when our marks do not reflect the effort we put in. The pressure to do well in school can come from our parents, professors, peers, and sometimes our worst critic is ourselves!

Although marks are certainly important, they are not all that matter. There are other aspects of your university career that are arguably just as important, if not more! It is believed that people do not regret the things they have done, but regret the things they did not do when they had the chance. It is important to make the most of your university experience because it will be over before you know it and you do not want to leave with any regrets. There are many ways to make your time at Queen’s count. Take the initiative to broaden your horizons and push yourself to be the absolute best version of yourself. You can do this by taking on new learning opportunities and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Join that intramural team or attend that conference! It will also improve your university experience to get involved in a variety of ways.

You have the power to make a difference by simply joining a club that interests you or starting your own if you do not feel connected to an existing club on campus. This is a great way to experience personal growth and pursue your passions, as well as meet others who have similar interests to you. If you take advantage of all of the opportunities that Queen’s has to offer, you will leave feeling accomplished and have no regrets upon graduating. Use your time at university to explore your passions and gain experience in a variety of areas. Remember that you get what you put in and it is never too late to get involved. Queen’s has a lot to offer you, but you also have a lot to offer it, so show this place what you are made of and let your voice be heard.

So, how will you make your mark?


Photo courtesy of Queen’s University under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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Just Do It! – Avoiding Procrastination

By Jessica MacNaught, third-year ConEd Linguistics/French student

Here’s how it always goes – the deadline looms, the days go by, and you push it off a million times. You clean out your desk, vacuum your room, and organize your clothes by colour and season in your closet. You wait for the right time to start – you’ll just know, right? But that time never comes, and now it’s the day before the assignment is due and you’re face-to-face with a very blank document.

We’ve all had that experience. I sure have – too many times than I’d like to admit. Procrastination happens to all of us, and it can feel harder to avoid than the deadline itself. Sometimes you just don’t want to do what you don’t want to do – and that’s okay, you’re human! However, being human also means that we have the opportunity to change, grow, and overcome hardships. We can do this by changing bad habits to good ones.

One of my favourite new expressions that I learned this year says to “eat a frog for breakfast.” This means to do the thing you dread the most first – that way it is over and done with as soon as possible. Sometimes at the core of procrastination is a fear of the task itself, whether it is a fear of it being too difficult or a fear of doing poorly on an assignment or test. However, the earlier you start, the more time you will have to keep working at it and get help if you need it! You are only making things easier for future you by starting sooner rather than later.

Another way to combat procrastination is to use the STING strategy. STING is an acronym that has a five-pronged strategy to combat procrastination and stop it in its tracks.

The S in STING stands for “set goals.” So, set some goals – what do you want to accomplish? In this case, it’s probably to get that big assignment done. Just identify exactly what you want to do, and visualize how great it will feel to get it done. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can feel the accomplishment.

T stands for “time yourself.” This means to be time-aware while you work. Make sure to take a break every 50 minutes to preserve your cognitive productivity and not get too burnt out!

I is for “ignore interruptions.” During time-sensitive deadlines, it is imperative that you stay on-track. This is something that you might struggle with if you’re a Yes-Person like me – someone who can’t say no to an invitation, a demand for help, or a phone call. Something I’ve been working on is becoming a “Yes, But Later”-Person – someone who can still have time for other people, but get the most pressing things done first before I do that.

The N stands for “no distractions.” This one is particularly difficult for students, because we have so much on the go – friends living just down the hall, cell phones buzzing, and stress from other areas of our lives all threaten to get in the way of us finishing that big assignment. While all of these things are important, most of them derail our attention from urgent tasks. Try silencing your phone, turning it off, or leaving it in a drawer. Let your friends, family, and the people you live with know that you have something important to work on and need some time to focus on school. Go to the library, a cafe, or somewhere else you can focus easily.

The G in STING is the best part – give yourself a reward! Once you’ve accomplished your goal, treat yourself. You deserve it!

Now, why are you still reading my article? It’s time to get started! 🙂



Photo courtesy of socialpaiges under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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How to Get Back On Track

By Emily McLaughlin, 5th-year Devs/Psych student

You know the feeling, when you’ve spent too much time procrastinating, put friends over school work one too many times and felt like life skipped from October 1st right to October 4th. You feel like you’re drowning in all the things that you need to catch up on and you’re not sure if you’re going to be okay. We’ve all been there; in fact, I’m fairly certain Week 3 never even happened and now everything is due. Let me tell you how to get both of us back on track.

First off, stop panicking. You’re going to spend more time worrying about how behind you are rather then actually accomplishing the work you need to. Instead, make a list of everything you need to complete. Make sure to add the number of pages of reading rather then simply writing Psych 100 readings. This will help to conceptualize the amount of you work need to finish. Next estimate the time it will take you to finish the task. Try overestimating the amount of time you will need to accomplish the task. Now you’re ready to make a to-do list. Remember, even though you are behind you still want to study effectively, so try to only schedule from 9-5, adjusting for the time of the day you are most effective.

Now that we have our to-do list, let’s get ready to study! Find a study space that works for you, whether it’s an empty classroom or Stauffer library and make sure, above all, to avoid all distraction. The hardest thing you will do is start the task. If you are having trouble with this, try using the five-minute trick! Tell yourself you will only work for five minutes. You will find that these five minutes will go by quickly and you’ll have begun your work! Remember the 50-10 rule as well! Study for 50 minutes a session while taking 10-minute breaks. Most importantly, reward yourself for all your hard work! Keep the rewards realistic and within ten minutes. My personal favorite is Starbuck reward breaks for a classic Chai Latte but you can find your own!

The next step is to remain positive! Make a list of the thing you have achieved that day. Seeing how long that list will become will make you feel accomplished. Also remember that you will not catch up in one day. It is impossible to do two weeks worth of work in one day. Give yourself a week or longer to get back on track. This will stop you from feeling rushed and like you are not achieving enough. Work hard but also remember to take breaks.

Part of catching up is also ensuring you are not going to fall behind again. Think about where you went off-track. This is not to make you feel bad about yourself but to recognize your mistakes and ensure they won’t happen again. Maybe you need to commit to one 3-hour study session a week in Stauffer on Wednesday nights. Or maybe 6 clubs was too many and you should prioritize the ones you want to get involved in the most. Learning effective time management skills may also be something you may want to look into! Remembering to allot yourself more than enough time to complete tasks, remaining in a 9-5 time frame and remembering to avoid overscheduling are all effective strategies! Perhaps look into getting an agenda or using an online task list.

Finally, if you have tried to catch up and keep falling behind or just feel like you are in too deep and struggling too hard, there is absolutely no shame in reaching out for extra help. Schedule an appointment with a professional learning advisor! They can help you get back on track and make you ready to take on your exams and essays. Or if you are struggling with any mental health related issues due to excess stress, you can always visit the Peer Support Centre or any of the other amazing resources on campus. Talk to your don if you are in residence or even reaching out to your parents or another form of support can help. Your family and friends will always be your biggest cheerleaders.

Remember that there is always a peak to any mountain. Your workload is not endless and you are able to face any challenge that university puts in your way.


Photo courtesy of Gael Varoquax under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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Midterms are Coming

By Alexandra Bosco, 3rd-year Con-Ed Life Sci/Psych student

The leaves have started to change colour, you’ve gotten settled into your school routine, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. That my friends, means one thing: midterms are coming.

If you haven’t had a midterm or two yet, then they may be coming soon. Whether you are a first year or third year, preparing for midterms while balancing regular schoolwork and extracurricular activities can prove to be a challenge. Here are 5 ways to ensure that your midterm preparation is a success!

  1. Make a plan. As soon as you know the dates of quizzes, tests, or midterms, put them in your planner. I like to use monthly planners that allow me to see what my responsibilities are for the month as a whole.
  1. Prepare early and beat the curve of forgetting! After 30 days we lose 80-90% of what we learned if we don’t review that information again. Reviewing your notes after you make them, a week later, and then a month later will help you win the battle against that dreaded curve of forgetting and help you on your path of the curve of remembering.
  1. Prioritize. Do the most important things first! You can use the ABC method to help prioritize tasks. Start by making a list of all the tasks you need to get done, studying, note taking, assignments etc. Then label each task. A is for tasks that need to be done immediately, B is for tasks that you need to get done soon, and C is for tasks that can wait until later. After rating each task A, B or C, its time to stark working!
  1. If you are feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to take break. However there is a difference between taking a break to look at a single cute cat video versus binge watching an entire season of Game of Thrones. Queen’s Learning Strategies recommends using the 50/10 rule, which means for every 50 minutes of work/studying, you take a 10 minute break. This method is effective for two reasons. First, we remember best what we learn in the first and last 20-25 minutes of a lesson or work session. By limiting studying to 50 minutes increments you are maximizing the amount of material that you will remember. Second, taking a break helps to increase motivation and productivity.
  1. Remember, you can do it! Preparing for midterms while going to classes and learning new material can feel overwhelming and if you let yourself believe that you can’t do it, you likely won’t. To quote Theodore Roosevelt “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.

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Having a Positive Mindset and Preventing Burn-out

By Ann Choi, 4th-year Con-Ed/English Student

One of the materials that particularly struck me during my two workshops on “Making the Grade: Transitioning from High School to University,” was its emphasis on optimism. While I was telling the students during the workshops that the studies have found out that optimism was a better indicator of the students’ GPA than their IQ, I realized I never seriously thought about the importance of having a positive mindset in academia before.

This emphasis on optimism and an importance of having a growth-mindset was especially relevant in my final year at university as many of my friends approached me for an advice because they were feeling burnt out from their studies.

Some of them have done consistently well at school, but as they began to lose motivation, they were beginning to worry that they may never do well in school again. As they were used to thinking that they did well because of their innate ability and study habits, negative thinking created a vicious circle: because they did not believe in themselves anymore, they also could not work, and their work indeed did not turn out well. Yet, they definitely had a great potential to do well as they had done before. They had just lost faith in themselves.

This does not apply only to the final years: I have encountered similar cases in the first, second, and third years. Sometimes, students who used to be the first in their high schools lost faith in themselves when they did not do well in their exams in the first years. Some did well in the first years, but after one failed essay or test in their second or third years, they lost their positive outlook on their study and continued to do badly. I realized that the cycle of discouragement, the bad grade, and worsening work ethics was quite common at university.

How do you prevent burn-out? All these students have potential. Many of my friends who have done poorly in first, second, or third year, after some time off from their study, decidedly did a lot better when they came back to study with a fresh heart. Many of them found that with a different mindset, they were indeed successful as they were before. Some of the negative thinking can be attributed to burn-out, as students often feel tired from over-work in their university career. To prevent burn-out as much as possible, and to maintain positive thinking, it is important to…

  1. Give yourself a break when you find yourself thinking negatively. Sometimes, you can work much better when you are feeling more energized. When deadlines seem pressing and when you have a lot of assignments due, you may feel guilty about “wasting” your time, but break is never a waste. I often felt guilty about my breaks and tried to force myself to work but realized it was counter-productive. Plan your schedule way ahead of time by using term calenders and weekly schedules to allot time when your body and brain can relax guilt-free.
  2. Spend some time studying with your friends. When I feel sad or unmotivated, I often don’t want to meet anyone. But when I actually meet some of my friends, it helps me to feel better. Talking to my like-minded friends also becomes a source of fresh energy and motivation. When you feel burnt out from work, try exercising (running had personally been a great way to de-stress for me) or talking to your friends.
  3. Try positive self-talk! I know talking to yourself may sound crazy, but positive mindset is incredibly important for your well-being, and whenever you feel negative about yourself, try to remember the activities you love, people you love, and how you are also loved in return. I tried positive self-talk, meditation, and yoga in my second year and they helped me incredibly with some of my anxiety about school, as I became more accepting of myself.

At university, everyone at one point or another struggles for various reasons. It is important to believe in oneself and think positively to recover and work towards one’s goals again. Remember too, that you are not alone and you can always seek help from your parents, friends, and other learning resources around you when you need one.


Photo courtesy of Shanna Trim under Flickr Creative Commons Attribution license 2.0.

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