I recently attended the CSU graduations in Sydney. My big brother looked so grown-up in his gown. I’m so proud of him. He’s smart too – graduated from the Bachelor of Medical Science, majored in Biotechnology with Distinction. He’ll be a hard act to follow I reckon.
I initially came away despondent, thinking my big day would never come. I’m halfway through a degree at another university, I’m studying part-time here and working part-time too. It’s a busy life, but I know for certain that graduation’s many years away for me. It’s not that I don’t enjoy study or work or family or all those things that matter. It’s that I’ve been studying for so long, and finally receiving the degree proves that all the striving was actually worth it. It’s like being paid after a 60-hour week at work – the pay check makes it all worthwhile.
But you know what I learnt from my brother’s big day? It’s totally OK to feel like this, totally OK to take your time; I even learnt that leaving university to graduate is actually harder than it looks. It doesn’t matter where you’re up to in your degree or how many subjects you still have to go, you will make it to graduation one day. It might be next year for you or it might be in six years – and both are equally fine.
I finally came away from the ceremony feeling inspired. Inspired to work hard and make it; my big day will come. Just be content with where you’re up to and take one session at a time. Try not to focus too much on the big picture – simply surviving a session can be hard sometimes.
So, as we launch back into Session 2 after our mid-session break, let’s look at some practical tips that might help you stay on track for the last six weeks. I’m sure we all know about the obvious ones – don’t drink too much coffee, get plenty of sunshine etc. I do want to focus on just three tips that we don’t often consider to have an impact. I call them ‘The 3 S’s’.
Stress can impact your mental health, sleeping patterns, study, work and relationships with friends and family. There are so many things that cause stress and anxiety and, to be honest, stress is a normal part of life. But don’t let it get away with you. You need to find your own coping mechanisms – this might be gardening, reading, de-briefing to a friend or family member or simply resting.
Don’t underestimate your surroundings. Nobody likes to work at a messy desk, eat off dirty plates or have grubby clothes still in the laundry from weeks ago. Keep on top of the house stuff. Doing house chores will give your mind a break from study, whilst giving your body some exercise.
And finally sleep. If it’s a toss-up between going to a party or getting an early night – get the early night. Your mind and body need rest and sleep to survive and function properly. Your brain also repairs your body and stabilizes your memories during sleep – making it extra important for the busy student.