Sunday 13 January 2013

Getting over the Post-Holiday Blues: getting back into the swing of work and study

With the start of the first semester just around the corner, we’re sure that some of you are feeling the ‘post-holiday blues’. Whether you’ve spent the summer buried in part-time work or you’ve taken a well-deserved break surrounded by family, it can be difficult to get back into the swing of things after having some time off.

Early morning starts, dashing between classes and finding yourself buried under piles of research notes may not be at the top of your wish list.

So how exactly do you get into a good university or college routine after the excess of the silly season? Read on for our five survival tips.

Get organised and up-to-date
Before heading back to class, make an attempt to get organised. Whether this means reading through the semester’s course guides or the assigned reading list, filling in your diary with important events (such as the dates that assignments are due in or exam periods) or even just starting your stationery shopping a week early. Going back to varsity or college is a lot easier if you start the new year prepared for classes and up-to-date.

Work out your budget
If you’ve spent the summer working, it’s likely that you’ve had a bit more cash to splash around than during semester. Unfortunately, going back to studying means cutting back on paid work and tightening budgets. You may need to re-assess your weekly income against expenses such as living costs (accommodation, food and utilities), public transport, food and entertainment... and cut back on the not-so-necessary.

Another thing to remember is that most students are in the same boat, so living cheaply is not as difficult as it sounds. If you’re a new student, scope out the area around your campus for student deals, which usually include anything from lunch specials to discounted clothing.

Make a list of goals for the year
Although many students cringe at the idea of setting goals, this is a good way to get motivated before classes start. It might mean researching activities you’d like to try (writing for the student magazine or interning at your campus radio station, for example) or vowing to improve on results achieved last year.

No more late nights
It’s a good idea to rethink your sleeping patterns. Sleeping in until midday or staying up all night aren’t a problem over the summer holidays but can be a difficult habit to shake once the semester starts. If you can, attempt a trial run before your first class and that first early wake-up may be a little bit easier!

Create a healthy balance.
Finally — going back to varsity shouldn’t mean that you neglect your health. Putting together a simple exercise schedule or organising to catch up with friends can help you strike a good study/life balance.

Get enough sleep, eat a healthy, well balanced diet, drink in moderation and exercise - even a short walk around the block can change your mood, improve your health and quality of life.

Starting a new year is sometimes exciting at the start and becomes more stressful as the work piles up, so remind yourself of these five tips if it becomes a little too hard to manage later on. Remember — if you’re feeling under pressure or need help with your studies, you can arrange to have a chat with course coordinators or on-campus counsellors, who can address your questions or concerns.

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