Welcome back from mid-semester break

Welcome back everyone! Let’s finish 2022 strong. This post contains a couple pieces of simple end-of-year advice, but its real purpose is just a verbal ‘high five’ as we all gear up for the final sprint to the finish line. Reading time ~5 minutes. 

Welcome back!

Hope you had a refreshing/productive/enjoyable/relaxing mid-semester break.

This is it – the sprint to the finish line 🏃🏼‍♂️ Those final few weeks before assignments are due and exams and then the end of 2022 (did anyone see it go by?).

Students face varying challenges in this last part of the year. For some it is preparing for exams. For others it is getting final assignments due. For those mid-PhD, it is meeting those self-imposed deadlines. Regardless, we are all trying to get things done before the year ends, and often juggling an enormous range of other activities at the same time.

So let’s see if we can finish 2022 with a bang.

I’ll be honest. I’m pretty pumped for the end of the year, but I am also very tired 🥱 I am looking forward to the break.

I sat down late last week and put together my to-do list for the end of the year. The 10 things I want to get completed before the holiday break. Today, I start working specifically on those 10 things, and purposefully resisting the urge to take on new projects (which is a weakness of mine). It is feasible that I can get these 10 things completed, but it will take some discipline.

“Discipline” is a strange beast. In theory it is pretty simple – it is just clearly defining what we need to do, and sitting down each day to nibble away at it. But we all know it generally isn’t that easy in practice. So many things can throw us off the path: unexpected events, fatigue, strong emotions, powerful distractors, boredom, loss of confidence, setbacks.

So I have a few pieces of advice.

➡ First, where possible, protect your existing self-care and wellbeing behaviours. These are often the first things we abandon (to free up some time) but their absence ultimately saps our energy levels and we end up losing time to fatigue. So protect your sleep, your exercise, your social engagements. Keep as much richness in your life as possible, even in the face of allocating significant time to studies. These activities often provide the energy required to do the hard work.

➡ Second, if appropriate, head onto campus. I’ve had a number of students tell me recently that coming on campus each day, even if they don’t have lectures or tutorials, means they get much more work done that sitting at home. As the weather warms up and the campus comes alive, you will be able to get energy from the presence of others, even if you are just set up in the library doing some reading, note-taking or listening to lectures.

➡ Third, there are still opportunities to invest in your productivity and wellbeing toolkits. Oasis is running sessions during October on a range of personal and professional skills. Stay tuned to their socials (facebook, insta) for more information. I know there are sessions on Good Vibes, exam preparation and more.  There is a 1 day Be Well Plan running on the 21st October where you can learn the basics of building a mental health and resilience plan. And all of the usual support services are in place – counselling, study supports. Accessing them might be part of activating your most productive self. And we have our Study and Exam preparation tips document, which remains packed full of suggestions on honing your study skills.

Remember that you aren’t alone in the final rush to the finish line. Both students and staff are working their tushies off to get to the end of the year.

And whilst this time of the year is generally super busy and we can easily get lost in the rush of it all, see if you can take a few moments each day, to just enjoy the journey. To acknowledge all the things you have learned and are learning. To notice the hive of activity on campus. To recognise the progress you’ve made in building the next stage of your life. To just be in the moment as we move quickly to the end of the year. It is all too easy to just have our eyes on the prize and miss out on enjoying the many moments that lead up to it.

Take care
Dr G

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