This year’s excitement and anticipation for the return to university has been replaced by a fear of being completely unprepared for what is in store for us this semester due to the uncertainty of Covid-19.
There is no doubt that the pandemic will dramatically alter our university norm and after such a long period away from academic life getting our shit back together is understandably a daunting prospect. The sooner we can accept the ‘new normal’ in our life at university, the sooner we can flourish in these strange circumstances. I spent several weeks before my return to Edinburgh ranting at anyone who asked me questions related to university in any shape or form. Like many other students, my semester will be entirely digital and the prospect of this leaves me with immense dissatisfaction and disappointment.
However, I recognise this frustration is neither helpful nor healthy; it’s easy to get hung up over the current situation and wallow in self-pity, but this will only hinder your ability to readjust back into university life. Now more than ever, we need to remember the importance of a positive mindset and combat the negativity surrounding the uncertain circumstances.
Organisation is the key to getting your shit back together. Admittedly, this is easier said than done. Treating yourself to a pretty page-a-day diary or weekly planner can be a good way to trick yourself into enjoying the administrative tasks that come with the start of the semester.
Making a physical to-do list can be a great way to ensure high productivity and a boost in morale as although we have the notes app on our phones, there really is something immensely therapeutic about physically striking something off a to-do list.
Making your list a mixture of quick tasks and the more time-consuming activities will help avoid becoming demoralised when one takes longer than expected. Remember, it is totally fine to add eating your bowl of cornflakes or making your bed to that list so that you can quickly tick those off and get that dopamine flowing.
Keeping a regular routine is an effective way of ensuring productivity. Whether a night owl or morning lark, keeping your sleep and waking times consistent improves your sleep hygiene, allowing you to be better prepared for the day ahead. This will be easier than usual given Hive Till Five is an unlikely occurrence anytime soon!
Planning ahead the night before is a good way of readjusting to academic life too, giving greater structure to the working day; having a clear idea of what you want to achieve helps to self-motivate which will be really important for studying at home this term.
This semester will undoubtedly be far removed from our past experiences at university, with an array of new challenges unlike any other we’ve faced before.
But, we can find solace in the normality of studying and the academic process, so relish the prospect of getting your sh*t back together and let’s smash this semester!
Illustration: Katie Moore