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A Hurdle in the Journey

Santosh, Life Sciences, Class of 2021

Hello Gaels!

I hope you have settled into the semester and are having some fun learning new concepts! As a science student, it’s been fun to learn some coding skills in my statistics course this semester. It’s very easy to forget to have fun learning during a hectic semester, but finding the fun always makes learning more enjoyable for me! As Aristotle once said, “the greatest of all pleasures is the pleasure of learning”.

Unfortunately, the first week of the semester was anything but fun for me. It was as though a whole (never-ending) pile of work was thrown at me in a matter of days. I felt drained and demotivated. I did have a lot to do: a quiz, two assignments, and a lab report. However, I think the thought of having to do so much work was more mentally draining than the actual work itself.

I tried to overcome this feeling as I trudged through my work from Monday to Wednesday. But on Thursday, mental burnout hit me hard. I had a few more assignments to finish, so Thursday and Friday was spent finishing those off—but this burnout really prevented me from maximizing my study periods. My overall mood was down, and I felt exhausted just thinking about university.

Yes… this had all happened in the first week of the semester! I knew that pushing this negative feeling aside and continuing my work would not be sustainable. After all, the goal I set for myself in my last blog was to make sure I utilize my study periods to the best of my ability.  Once I finished my last task for the week, I knew that I needed to take a break and rejuvenate myself. Therefore I took the entire first weekend of semester to enjoy some time off.

If you are also burnt out, here are some things that really helped me to relax and re-motivate myself:

  • Get a good night’s sleep
  • Watch my favorite show
  • I made some of my favourite foods (homemade panzerottis) and ate them as I watched Captain America: Civil War for the 10th time.
  • I finished off creating my to-do list for the following week to get me primed for week 2!

In a few quiet moments, I felt like I could be a little productive, so I took the chance to do some light work, creating flashcards or writing notes for about just a few minutes. By Sunday night I was motivated and rejuvenated to get back to my normal schedule, which set me up for success for week 2.

Throughout the week that followed, I decided to stop doing work after 10pm. Instead, I took an hour or two to relax before bed! While studying online it is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work, so it’s even more important to take those much needed breaks to help propel you through the semester.

I’ve also been trying to work on that goal I set for myself to make my study periods more productive. This was an addition to my general time management goal from last semester. I’ve tried to experiment with new methods to see what works for me—and what doesn’t—when it comes to making my study sessions productive. Here are my takeaways from my first two weeks:

Do:

  • Use the Pomodoro method (work through a 25-minute block, take a 5-minute break, then repeat)
  • Have a goal on what to finish for a certain study block
  • Have a home set-up that stops you needing to move much or continuously get up from your seat. Have that coffee and all your materials ready before you sit down!

Don’t:

  • Go into a study session without an idea of what you want to accomplish. Even a small, rough goal will help your focus.
  • Use the study time to decide what you want to accomplish. Do it in advance, either that morning or the evening before.
  • Keep any distractions within arm’s reach. Put that phone in a different room altogether.

I still have a way to go before I can reach my potential with this goal, but I feel as though I have made a few baby steps since the first day of the winter term!

I hope this blog has helped you understand that if you have a setback, making an effort to fix it can really help you make vital strides forward! In this unprecedented academic year, we have faced so many hurdles that we need to appreciate the work that has been done!

Have fun and stay safe!

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