For any regular readers of my blogs out there, you may have noticed my slightly long absence from writing. To say that I’d been struggling with ‘writer’s block’ would be a fairly accurate description. For weeks I kept thinking “What do I write about?” and even though I’d start the occasional blog, I could never finish anything and I’d end up ditching them as drafts. I spoke to a friend of mine who’d come across my blog and he said “Why don’t you write about not having anything to write about?” – so that’s exactly what I set out to do.
Celebrating Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week 2020
Kindness comes in many shapes and forms: saying thank you to a key worker, giving someone a slice of your freshly baked banana bread, or even just encouraging your friends. But as life goes on, and we hold the door open again and again or help an elderly neighbour with running errands, we can often forget to be kind to one particular person: ourselves.
With exams, a pandemic and the daily stresses of life, we can get so caught up in being the best person for everyone else. We try being supportive to all of our friends, family and those around us but sometimes we forget about what’s best for us.
Taking charge of your own mental health support.
We have been in a state of nationwide lock-down for a few weeks now. This has understandably taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. Some may have managed to cope more than others. However, professional and academic commitments still need to be met even during a pandemic. The pressure from keeping up with that alongside the uncertainty of the current situation may lead to heightened anxiety among students. This can manifest in many ways some of which are erratic sleep, loss of appetite, irritability or panic attacks.
With the pressures from the crisis and everything being run remotely, the access to professional mental health support has unfortunately diminished.
My first online open-book exam is in 13 days.
I am desperately trying to revise but to little avail. The exam season panic has fittingly kicked in. You may ask why I need to revise when all my assessments are going to be open-book. I had the same question. We were advised by our faculty that the exams will be testing understanding instead of simple factual recall. Hence, we need to know the material and understand it sufficiently in order to pass. The faculty has kindly arranged an online mock so we can familiarise ourselves with the platform used to deliver the exams.
Here are my top tips to coping under lockdown
After a week of lying around the house, “getting used to” isolation, as I like to call it, and feeling a little bit sorry for myself, I decided it was finally time to start revising for those all important final exams. Except, there was one big problem, I had absolutely no motivation to do much work. I would wake up and just not know where to start, it felt overwhelming that there was so much work to do.
I wanna take a moment to say that it is totally okay to not feel completely normal right now.
Cramming is inefficient but sometimes continuous studying is not gonna happen. There’s no denying it, Imperial like any other research-intensive university requires the utmost diligence to time management, you have coursework, social club activities for downtime which means you need to learn how to prioritise your independent studying – which is the most important part of your course, often worth at least 50% of your degree if not more (for Life Sciences it is 75%). In a way, it’s great because it gives you more time to prep and to give your all after the holidays but because of how vibrant life is at Imperial it also means you don’t have time to study!
What is first year of uni like?
Because it is a lot more than just “fun”, I had to make a video about it.
This is how I’ve been wasting my time.
As the holidays came to a start- my initial mindset was, “Oh, I’ve got looaaddss of time. I definitely deserve a break. One more season of this show on Netflix won’t hurt.” It must have slipped my mind that the exam on the day I go back is not a mock. Now that I’m about 70% through my Easter/Spring break, I am filled with regret and drowning in revision. :’)
- Watching a season of Hell’s Kitchen The first thing I did was binge watch as soon as the term ended. Personally a big Gordon Ramsay fan, even though he’s not a believer in Vegetarianism/Veganism cries.
And how to avoid it
However much you might try to think you make the best use of your time, I’m sure that there’s always some time during the day when you sit there not quite getting on with your work but pretending that you are. As a particularly keen procrastinator, especially when I find the work difficult, here are some of the ways I’ve managed to get through tough revision periods avoiding procrastination.
- Make a timetable with not more than 45 to 90 mins revision sessions at a time. Don’t just write down what subject or module you will be studying, include key details of what particular topic, or which past paper you will do in this time.
So how are you really feeling?
Thursday was Time to Talk Day 2018, a chance for us to speak openly about mental health, something that doesn’t happen as much as it should. There is a certain stigma associated with mental health, however when 1/4 people are affected by mental illness each year, it really is time to stamp out the sigma and talk about mental health. Following on from Paula’s post about what to do if you are worried about a friend’s mental health, I thought I would share some first hands tips of how to stay mentally healthy in a university environment and what to do if you feel that you are suffering in any way.