How to Make the Most from Autumn Midterm

Graduate Corner

By: Olivia Adams
Photo: Lily Newman

Whether you are just about to start your university experience or you are going into your last year, it is no surprise that when Autumn midterm approaches, it can feel like your studies have gone from hardly any work at all to heap loads in a matter of days. Trying to find the perfect balance between getting on with work and taking time for yourself can feel difficult when your unsure of how to tackle the week and especially if all of your friends are viewing it differently. You may be feeling unsure of if it’s the right time for a break from your studies, or rather time where you ought to kickstart the mountain of work you have to do. Either way, I hope this can help you to decide on how to spend your week, while also prioritising what is really important to you.

First things first, I think it’s important to realise that getting a week off of lectures actually makes you one of the lucky ones, as not all courses allow for students to have midterms. So, if you’re one of the lucky ones and are reading this thinking “a week is nowhere near enough time off,” then this is where you need to change your
mindset! A week can go by extremely quickly and although it may not feel like it, it is a long period of time – especially when spent correctly. While this week may be seen by many as a week to sit back, relax and do nothing, I personally think it is a week where you should be productive and remember the bigger picture; succeeding in
your degree. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have time to refresh and chill with your friends, however in order to create less stress for yourself in the long-run, getting a balance between studying and relaxing is essential. As I’m sure you are aware, life as a student can get extremely busy and therefore it becomes easy to fall behind, so this week is the time where you can catch up on any work you may have missed or even to get ahead with readings and assignments. Although this may seem like a lot of effort, it can be a massive help later on in the term.

In order to use your time effectively, I would suggest creating a plan of what you need to get done in your week so that you can easily identify which work needs to get done and how much free time you have. Being organised is one of the most important skills to help you excel in not just learning, but life itself; because once you’re prepared you can do anything you put your mind to! You may find it beneficial to remove any distractions (e.g. your phone) from your room of study, in order to remain focused and finish work to a better standard and at a faster pace. S

Sometimes it can also help to have a change of scenery when studying, so rather than your bedroom or kitchen, why not see if you can go to the library or even a coffee shop? Once you have planned which work you are going to do over the week and when, it becomes a lot easier to decide what you can do with your free time. Although it may feel like you are limited on what you can do due to the Coronavirus restrictions, there
is still plenty of things you can do to fill your time.. Depending on where you are and what the rules are, in most areas of the UK you will still be able to see friends that aren’t in your house, as long as you are outside and at a safe distance. If this isn’t the case, then making sure to spend time with your house/flatmates for things like takeaway nights, going out for food, or a trip to the cinema, can make the week a lot more fun! I think it’s so important to spend time with your friends, especially as it can break up the day and take your mind off of your studies. Another good way to use your time would be by getting some more hours at your job (if you are working), which yes might sound a little boring, but by this point of term the extra money can really help! Or if you feel you would much rather have the week to focus on study and relaxing, perhaps see you can request time off of work!

You may also find that this week is a good time to visit home and have a break from student life. Sometimes it can be just what you need in order to fully refresh from the stress and craziness that university brings. With the constant cycle of going out, having late nights and being with friends, university life often can leave little time to yourself. This break is a great time to catch up on the sleep you may have missed and to have some much-needed time for you! Spend time doing what you WANT to do; whether that’s exercising, being lazy, watching Netflix or reading, don’t disregard the things that help you to relax.

There are multiple ways that you could spend your spare time; whatever you may choose to do make sure you are happy with your decision, and don’t worry about what others may be doing. Keep in mind that university terms aren’t actually that long and so prioritising the work now can make the time off at Christmas a lot more enjoyable! If you use your time wisely, you’ll feel grateful when it comes to having to hand in assessments and do exams if you are prepared and caught up. In saying that, make sure to also relax and recharge!

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