Tips and Tricks to Get You through the First Month Back At Lectures

Pic: South African Education and Environment Project. (SAEP)

This is it. There are no more cheerful blank days ululating the feeling of holidays on any calendar anywhere (unless you attend the University of Cape Town in which case you are A: a lucky human indeed and B: a student who needs to read this article anyway to prepare you for what you know you are not preparing for.

All students everywhere know that winded feeling that the arrival of the first semester brings along with the corresponding brokenness.

So there are a few tricks that one can utilise to float rather than drown as one re-enter Student Mode. They are simple – so simple that one can hardly believe that anyone would feel the need to write an article about it.

First, get a diary. That gross colour coded thing you used to lug around with you around your high school? Buy one, make one, or get a good deal for one. And then use it. Actually use the diary. As simplistic as it may sound in theory it really does take some discipline to use a diary efficiently. It does not matter if it is an electronic or paper one – just the act of writing down the various things required of you in your courses or in your life helps create a feeling of order and quell that panic inside of you.

Pic:: The Journalist

Deadlines are Closer than They May First Appear. Now that you have got your hands on the mythical diary or day-planner, plan ahead. Put in due dates for assignments or test dates even if they are months away and you think you have time (the trouble is you always think you have time) Then remind yourself a week before its due so that you never have to pull those pre-deadlines all-nighters again because you forgot about it.

This sort of planning does not just apply to academics: write down your social plans too just to really cement diarising as a habit. Drinks at 6:00? You have a slot in your day-planner for that.

take it bit by bit; inch by inch. Once you feel as if you have established a semblance of order to your life you will find it rather easy to see what is required of you each week. It is also easy to suddenly be faced with the mountains of work and deadlines that you would rather just ignore. The easiest life hack when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges is just to start. Start somewhere. Anywhere and then work as much as you can from there until you’ve found that everything is finished. Until the next wave of work in which case…

Do. Not. Panic. This is where you are told to breathe and think of a happy place. And as terribly cliché as that advice is – its adept at helping you handle nearly everything in life. Do not panic, do not despair. You can do this. Time management and adequate planning and your ‘bit by bit’ mentality will see you through. And if you do feel as if you are not managing then take a break from it all. Academics, friends, whatever it is. Taking time out to recharge or sleep and relax is just as important as preparing yourself adequately for the semester ahead.

As a wise animated fish has often been quoted saying: Just Keep Swimming. And try to enjoy yourself, too.