Lucy Twilley, Advice & Wellbeing Coordinator here at UCASU has pulled together some tips and advice for managing your workload and taking care of yourself during this time of year.
It's Lucy Twilley here, Advice & Wellbeing Coordinator at UCASU. It is that time of year, deadline season. Time to perfect your assignments and wrap everything up for the academic year. This is a notoriously difficult time for students, balancing multiple deadlines and putting a lot of effort into your studies whilst maintaining your self-care and mental health can be a challenge.
Here at UCASU, we’re here to remind you that YOU GOT THIS! You are capable and strong and we believe in you. The end is in sight, but for the time being, I'd like to share some tips and advice for managing your workload and taking care of yourself during this time of year.
Figure out what works for you
Everyone works differently, so find the best way for you to organise your time. Whether this is making a calendar and planning each day, setting the same times aside for study each day, or a more personalised approach, figure out what works for you and roll with it. The idea of a structured daily study plan is great in theory, but it is not going to work for everyone. Do you work better alone or in a group? Do you stick to a strict schedule or does this make you overwhelmed? Do you prefer working at home or in the library? Do what feels right and gives you the best results.
Set yourself realistic goals and targets. Aiming high is a nice idea, but if it is going to cost you your sleep, mental health or wellbeing then break it down into smaller chunks. Jumping into an essay without any level of structured goal setting can cause some to feel a bit lost, and if this resonates with you, set small, achievable daily goals. For example, maybe you want two paragraphs completed today, one before 1PM and one before 5PM. Small goals mean you will be regularly giving yourself mini senses of achievement that will help you to stay motivated throughout the day.
Reward yourself for your hard work
If you have met a goal and achieved something for the day, make sure you give yourself the reward you deserve. This will look different for everyone, so work out what that is for you. You just accomplished a goal for the day, so treat yourself to your favourite food, a long walk, some TV or gaming time, whatever it is that resonates with you. Allow yourself to completely switch off from your work once you have achieved what you need to. Life is about balance, so make sure you aren't stressing and working hard 100% of the time.
We cannot emphasise this enough - take regular breaks! Whether this is just a 10/15 minute break hourly to have some water, a snack and move your body, it is so worth it. Breaks do not only hugely benefit your mental health and wellbeing, but they keep your mind sharp. Taking some time away from your work allows you to come back and look at it with fresh eyes. So to stay on top form for your work, whilst maintaining your overall health and wellbeing, take a lot of breaks.
Don’t forget, Mitigating circumstances exist for a reason…
If for any reason your personal circumstances have made it so that you aren’t able to submit an assignment on time, you may be eligible for mitigating circumstances. Mitigating Circumstances grants you an extension on your deadline of varying lengths based on your personal situation, usually, this is up to three weeks. You will need to detail the things that are going on for you, and in a lot of cases provide evidence for these. Examples of things you can submit as a mitigating circumstance are physical/mental health issues, bereavement or hard personal life circumstances. Click here to download the mitigating circumstances claim form and guidance.
UCASU offer independent advice and guidance to support you throughout this process, whether you are unsure if you have a case or not, you need help with the form or you just would like someone to support and guide you throughout the process, your Students' Union can help. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.