The University and College Union (UCU) have announced more strike days during March regarding disputes involving pay, pension and working conditions. Staff throughout the University of Edinburgh will be taking part in these strikes. This will mean a significant number of lessons will be cancelled, and students will not receive some of their teaching.
As students, how do we adapt to this disruption? You can be feeling frustrated at the loss of teaching and simultaneously be supporting those who are striking. However, sitting around being frustrated will not help anything. We need to channel that frustration into something productive. This article aims to motivate and encourage you to keep studying despite the interruptions to your timetable.
It is important to hold yourself accountable and not let everything slip from your grasp because of the strikes. See this as an opportunity to catch up on any readings or lectures you may have missed. See this as a time to take things a bit easier and wake up a bit later to start studying, as you do not have to be at that 9 am lecture this week. The middle and end of the semester are really overwhelming and stressful times and you have been given the gift of time to take things a bit slower. You can create better quality work and balance your social life with your studying life better.
I recommend setting your alarm for a reasonable time to keep in step with your normal routine and not let the day go to waste. Find a nice location off campus (if you are supporting the strikes and not crossing the picket line) such as a local coffee shop (Black Medicine is perfect), or the National Library of Scotland or your friends’ living room to study. A friend and I often switch flats for the day when we need a change of scene. Changing up your surroundings helps to keep things interesting and helps you stay motivated. Try listening to some music in the background (my preference is Classical). Make sure you are aware of your deadlines and put them in your calendar as you will not have your tutors to remind you. Take regular breaks and go for a walk – it can be easy to stay inside all day when we do not have to go to classes but ensure you are getting some fresh air and exercise every day.
Maybe you are missing the social interaction with your coursemates – arrange to go for a coffee during your normal class time and discuss how you are feeling about the module. Perhaps you can help each other by sitting and doing the readings together and mutually motivate one another. Maybe you take this opportunity to do some of the wider reading around your course or get ahead on future assignments. You are in control of your time so you should consider how you can use it wisely.
It is also okay if you take the time to relax and take a bit of a mid-semester break. University can be stressful, and if you feel you need to focus your time elsewhere, then use this time to do that. See your friends and call your family, walk up one of Edinburgh’s many hills, head to the beach for the day and mentally recharge. Do your laundry, clean your flat and sort out that life admin you never have time for.
I hope this article has helped you feel empowered in the face of strikes and remember that your learning does not have to stop just because your classes have. You are the one in control of your learning. I also hope you feel more inspired to attend those classes that take place on non-strike days (even if it is a 9am!).
Image Credit: “from the UCU strike picket line” by marsupium photography is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.