How I overcame the challenges of third year of university

Finally, third year of university has ended. Third year has presented me with numerous challenges and I can safely say that this has been the hardest academic year that I’ve had so far. Not only has it been intense academically, but on top of that I have had to balance my degree with internship applications, societies, committee positions, maintaining a social life, as well as other things. However, with challenges come rewards and this was certainly the case for me, as I feel that this has been my best year at university so far. This year alone, I have held a Student Union committee position, was part of a team that organised a successful conference that had an audience of over 200, secured an amazing internship, started this blogging website as well as performing well in my degree. This blog post will highlight 4 things that have helped me overcome the challenges that I faced this year.

Setting aside time every day to reflect

I have briefly mentioned this in previous blog posts as well, as this is so important. Being able to set aside time every day to reflect on the day is something that doesn’t require much effort in terms of time, but is a good habit to get into. One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to write down what I did well, and what I could have done better at the end of each day. This has only taken up a maximum of 20 minutes of my time every day, but it has helped me realise things that I could improve on (e.g. how I prioritise tasks), and this has aided my personal development.  Furthermore, by considering the good things of every day, this has allowed me to keep things in perspective and take the positives out of each day, which helps significantly especially in tough and stressful times.

Making a to do list on Google Calendar and ticking off tasks once you complete them

I can say with confidence that Google Calendar has been my best friend this academic year. I am someone that wants to ensure that every day at university is as productive as possible, and noting down on Google Calendar what things I already had on for that day (e.g. social meetups or society events) meant that it was easier to plan other things that I wanted to do around my schedule. Moreover, having Google Calendar as a reference point meant that I could go back to it in the event that I forgot something that I had to do for that day. Furthermore, there is nothing more satisfying than ticking off tasks once you have completed them, and I found that knowing that I have already completed most of the stuff that I planned to do for the day by 4pm gave me more motivation for the rest of that day.

Waking up early and ensuring I get enough sleep at the same time

In second year of university, I was guilty of studying till very late and having too many all-nighters, which meant that the majority of the time I woke up after 11am on the next day. This created a vicious cycle in where I would be annoyed at myself for waking up late, then having to work till late in order to compensate for the missed hours in the morning, and as a result waking up late the next day. Inevitably, second year didn’t go as well as it should have done. I made sure though that I didn’t fall in this trap in third year, and I usually woke up between 7am to 8am whilst at university this year. This meant that I could finish the important tasks early on in the day which would give me a confidence boost for the rest of day. However, making sure I was asleep by 12am for the vast majority of days also meant that I got enough hours of sleep at the same time, which was equally as crucial.

Setting goals which were ambitious yet realistic

I think this was the single most important thing that really helped me do well this year despite the hard challenges that came my way. For me, setting goals included small and short-term goals such as doing well in the next class test, as well as more big long-term goals such as getting out of my comfort zone as much as possible. By constantly setting goals and targets for myself this automatically improved my motivation as it meant I always had something to work towards, and maintaining a high level of motivation was key in helping me get through third year. Furthermore, I made sure that I set ambitious goals to challenge and push myself, but at the same time I always kept them realistic as there is no point making targets which are impossible to achieve, even if the intention is to push yourself.

I am grateful for the challenges that I have been presented with in third year, as this has made the rewards and good moments even sweeter. I look forward to seeing what my fourth and final year at university has in store for me.

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