23 September 2016

How To Cope With Uni Stress And Ace Your Courses + Mini Giveaway

Cute stationery, Back to school, Student life
It's been quite some time since I got to throw my graduation cap in the air. I admit, it does feel great when I sometimes get asked where/what I study. Age is just the number at the end of the day, right? While I do have lovely memories from school, university was my absolute favourite. Throughout 7 years of uni (I did 5 in Ukraine and 2 in the US) I learnt a lot about myself, and not just from the personal or social perspective. I have managed to pick up the skills that have become essential in my studies and my future career. On top of that, even when the going would get tough sometimes (there's nothing wrong with whining a bit here and here), I worked out what helped me cope with the coursework load, pre-exam pressure and student life in general. In Ukraine I had to sit 15 exams at the end of each semester (5 in America). These "tricks" I will be sharing below carried me through the most demanding times in my academic experience and even pushed me to start my own business from scratch as scary as it was at the time.

For me uni kicked off with the arrival to a new city where I didn't know a soul. I was 16 when I graduated from high school and back then I was uber shy and anxious about the unknown. Living at the dorm wasn't an option because I didn't manage to secure a spot on time. So I ended up looking for an apartment and roommates to share it with (now that's a story for a completely different post). Fast forward a few years in, I had the best group of friends, immense experience of studying in the United States and a load of "hacks" at my disposal (this term didn't exist back then) which led me to graduating summa cum laude with a Master's degree in International Relations and enjoying my life to the fullest in the process. I've never been the kind of person who would spend every living hour studying but I knew when I had to pull things together. Stress becomes your middle name when you have too much going on and it feels like everyone wants you to perform 101%. Even if you're an excellent juggler, the fatigue and the constant flow of "I have to" tasks can get the best of the best of us. That's when you hit the point when you know it's time for a change in order to be able to choose joy every day. Here are my tips on how to cope with uni stress and ace your courses:
Cute stationery, Back to school, Student life
This might be a no-brainer. We all know how much we suffer from the physical and mental clutter in our lives. Same applies to the glorious years of being a student. From the day you get your foot across the door of your university/college/{insert the name of any edu establishment here} for the first time to the moment you are handed in that blood-sweat-and-tears earned diploma, you need to know what's happening, when, where and how. To do so, you need to get familiar with your curriculum and evaluate the situation. Depending on the part of the world you live in, the story can go differently here. When I studied in Ukraine, we got a fixed schedule of all the subjects, lectures, seminars, conferences, tests, exams and whatnot. It meant 8 hours of my day (usually from 8 to 4) were all about uni. In the US I learnt a whole new level of bliss. I had my pick! I could take on as many subjects as I would like or manage. Plus, I could choose the time of each class which meant lots of free time. Whether you are flexible to roll with one or another, you will still need a planner or an academic diary (my favourite ones are by Paperchase and can be found here, here and here). You will never miss a deadline and will keep up with any fun events around the campus alongside your classes and tests. It will keep you disciplined, organised and ultimately serve that unspoken role of making you a more responsible human being. 
Time management skills is not something we are born with. Just like the jedi's power is drawn from the Force (I had to sneak in the Star Wars ref!), these skills demand lots of dedication, self-discipline and constant practice. Now that you have a copy of your academic schedule and have started jotting down those important dates in your planner, think about WHEN you need to do one thing or another. One of the guys I used to study with had always been slacking off during the semester (well, there was a group of them). Then, when it was the test or exam date coming up, he would try cramming for a day or two. Usually, he got Fs and had to re-take each exam. Unless you're an absolute genius, generally it doesn't work. Plus, it makes your stress levels shoot sky high. You will cope with the busiest stages better if you plan your time wisely every day. While you're responsible with your time, don't make it all about those assignments and deadlines as there's a risk of burning out very quickly. Schedule in the fun stuff! Book a weekend away, organise something to look forward to and come up with little "rewards" here and there for going that extra mile.
Lots of older folk keep saying how easy it is to be a student today. You have all the technology to the rescue and the information is there for the taking. I agree that we benefit from all the perks of living in the 21st century. With that being said, it is so much more demanding, complicated and perplexing to study in the new millennium. We will take all the help we can get! The help comes in the form of different tools. It can be something you build on your own: starting from binders you can put together to contain all the handouts to Excel spreadsheets you can create to track your curriculum. At the same time, you can have an edge if you use online resources. When lovely people from Academic Help* got in touch with me and asked me to check out their unique system, which is that "milk to your cookie" (aka all you need) when it comes to writing, I was intrigued. See, I used to run my own business for 3 years before moving to the UK. It was all about offering students the best resources out there, high-quality tutoring and academic help through and through. No wonder Academic Help got my attention. The most amazing thing is that it doesn't just help you write an essay for college. It would analyze your paper, point out mistakes, add comments and grade it. Also, you can get that inspo from thousands of samples available in addition to such tools as plagiarism checker, citation generator and more. As a cherry on top, it's a great resource for bloggers, employees, writers, journalists and PR specialists. The sheer number of tips on how to write different letters, posts and notes (anything from a newsletter to a business report) is so impressive. I definitely recommend giving it a go.
Cute stationery, Back to school, Student life
If I got a dollar for each time I encountered drama when I used to be a student, I'd be inviting you over to stay at my private villa on the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai just about now. Jokes. Thankfully, most of the time I just happened to be an involuntary observer getting a "how not to live your life" guide first hand. Let's just put it this way, things get dramatic when you are in your teens or early 20s. They do. Even if you are a quiet type who doesn't like any kind of confrontation, you might get involved into it one way or another. Words would be said. Mistakes would be made. Friendships would be ended. The good news is it's never too late to pick up the pieces and start over. If you feel like your current circle of "friends" does nothing but bring you down or make you feel inferior in any way, it might be a good idea to distance yourself from them. If you constantly find yourself involved in the middle of the "Broadway gone wrong" situations, self-reflect and see if there is anything you can improve about your own attitude. Meekness is not a weakness. Keep your family and true-to-the-bone friends close. Share your feelings and worries with those you can trust. Your vibe will definitely attract your tribe so stay open to potential new friendships. You won't even notice when you find your "3 a.m. BFF"

It's a fact that students are the most skilled people on the planet when it comes to survival. Your body is able to endure the ramen noodles diet and your mind is free of the pressures of "adulting" (career, mortgage, kids and all that lovely jazz). Glorious early 20s! Yet, you reap what you sow applies to that age more than ever. If you don't look after yourself in your teens or early 20s, it might hit back like a ripple effect in your 30s. Firstly, get your diet right. If you moved away from home it might be very tempting to snack on Kit Kats all the time, drink 10 sodas a day or skip meals altogether. Your eating habits now will define the circumstances you will face in 5 years or much sooner. So pull out a notebook, plan meals, go grocery shopping, stock up on fruits and veggies and use Pinterest as a source of inspiration. Secondly, don't slack off. Just like no one would see you finish a biscuit pack all on your own, no one might take notice of how much time you spend in front of the screen or on your couch. Exercise wouldn't only help you keep fit but it also releases your endorphins which is a great mood booster. Finally, no one cancelled sleep. Even if you think you are capable of functioning on 4 hours of Zs daily, it's better to stick to good ol' 6 to 8 hours. You will thank yourself later.
Let's get the ugly truth out right off the bat. No one is going to hand you the highest grade because you are a lovely person. You have to earn it. Best way to do it? You have to work hard. We all go through different circumstances, and there are exceptions when you actually HAVE TO take time off or even consider a gap year. Family comes first. Things happen. You have to get your priorities right. However, if you struggle with laziness, it's the high time to tell its sneaky voice in your head to shoosh. Anything else but a family emergency hardly ever means "the end of the world" (even though sometimes it does feel that way). After all, if your boyfriend dumps you right before the exam madness begins, you have to pick yourself up, remember who runs the world and ace it all. I am actually talking about my personal experience. One billion years ago one very self-centered guy decided to break up with me over the text knowing I had exams coming up. I cried that night thinking my world came crashing down (I was very young and naive). The next morning I deleted all of his texts and our photos together and sat down to study. I told myself I would let myself cry, if needs to, or think about it all after I pass my last exam. 3 weeks later I was proud of myself for acing every single one of my courses and, fortunately, realized that I didn't want to hear a word from him ever again. He did text and call to get me back. It was a big fat no.
I have left the "fun" tip for dessert. I am definitely not calling university a prison (I really enjoyed studying in both unis I attended) but a work load can sometimes feel binding. If you go back to Tip #2 you will know exactly what I mean. Breaks away are crucial because you need that change of scenery and your batteries need recharged. If you get a free day and you really have nothing planned, try getting out of the dorm room/apartment/house and exploring the area where you live. Join the gym or a local walking club. Do yoga in the park. Meet up with a friend for a coffee or go shopping. It's a different story if you are a blogger because bloggers don't have days off (it's supposed to be a joke but it isn't lol). The point is to have an outlet or some kind of a hobby outside the four walls of a lecture room. Your social circle might whisk you away to do something every weekend but it's also so great and rewarding to spend time on your own. Learn to enjoy your own company doing what YOU love. Happier and a more relaxed you on a Sunday night = much more productive and successful Mon-Fri week. Invest into your development beyond academia. Happiness first.
Pinterest - How to cope with uni stress and ace your courses
I thought since the fall has officially kicked off, it would be great to celebrate with a
Gang V Storage.It notebook by Eley Kishimoto x MARK'STYLE TOKYO
I am giving away his famous cute Gang V Storage.It notebook by Eley Kishimoto x MARK'STYLE TOKYO
it's not just a notebook but it's also a storage pouch;
it comes with a compartment with a zip in the front and many pockets on the inside,
it's got a pen loop which is super handy, and when the notebook is finished, 
pull it out and insert another A5 one!
Gang V Storage.It notebook by Eley Kishimoto x MARK'STYLE TOKYO
PLUS a pen, a notepad with sticky notes & these cute cat highlighters 
(+ a few other surprise bits and pieces)
Details:
+ the giveaway is international (I will ship wherever you are!)
+ you can enter from September 22nd to October 1st
+ to enter you need to follow the steps provided by Rafflecopter (below)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Collaborated with & sponsored by Academic Help (more: Tip #3);
all thoughts, ideas and opinions are, as always, my own; 
giveaway prizes are bought by yours truly. 

Hope you enjoyed this post, lovelies.
I really enjoyed putting it together, even though it took me extra 2 days.
Even if your uni days are far past behind you,
these tips can be easily transferable (with some alteration) to your professional life.

 My other POSTS you might like:

Find me on:
Leave a comment and share your tips on how to deal with all things "student life".
Which tip of mine did you enjoy the most?
What are/were you studying at the uni/college?
Are you enjoying/Have you enjoyed being a student?

P.S.
Apologies for a delayed post, lovelies.
It hasn't been easy to juggle one million things 
after coming back from a holiday and getting back into the routine.
However, I am getting back into the swing of things and 
will make sure to share 2 to 3 posts per week.
So much exciting stuff is coming up!
I hope you take part in my mini giveaway - 
one of you will receive a lovely stationery bundle.
Happy Fall!
🍁
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