Surviving the semester

Rachel Watt- Picture

By Rachel Watt

It’s the start of the year and you have already made that new academic year resolution to be more organised. Of course you will be. Consumed in the illusion of new notebooks, academic diaries, pencils, highlighters and gel pens, you are convinced this is the new you.

And so it is…

Until the impending doom of week six sets in- hello deadlines and good-bye social life! How are you supposed to write three essays and maintain your friendships and relationships? Well the truth is, I’m afraid, there are going to be a few sacrifices to be made if you want to make it through the year.

It’s not all doom and gloom and here are a few tips I’ve learned that help in balancing your hectic life.


Remember that cute diary you acquired out of Paperchase? It’s time to use it, not just let it sit decoratively upon your book shelf. Of course you aren’t going to jot down every detail and every minor academic date, but being aware of important upcoming deadlines. These will be what you plan your entire study routine around. Don’t wait until the Myplace calendar in the corner of your screen pops up. Try and write down every assignment deadline and your homework for your tutorials, keep checking to see when they are coming up and start planning your work as soon as possible. Once you’ve got your deadlines worked out try and take it piece by piece, don’t let the deadlines overwhelm you, break it down into bite sized chunks.

Take a break

Having some time out from studying is essential. Not having a social life or at least some time to try new things could make your life at university a lot more stressful and lonely. Don’t know where to start? Strathclyde offer a large range of clubs and societies from debating, acting, engineering and even Doctor Who. Whatever your interest there is a club for you! Of course, make sure you can fit these clubs around your university work. Usually our university facilitates societies by giving students their Wednesday afternoons off to enjoy their activities. The friends you meet at the clubs and societies could potentially become friends for life and a shoulder to cry on during exam time.


Okay so you’re not as organised as you’d like to have been and now you’re trying to cram an assignment into a period of 48 hours. Not practical but sometimes it does happen. The important thing is to not panic. Whilst it is not recommended and this must be a last resort, all-nighters can be done. Make sure you take regular breaks and keep yourself hydrated. If you are getting too stressed out you will need to take some time to breathe. Pull yourself away from the screen, work out how much you will have to do and take everything in small but manageable steps.

However, it is best to avoid this dreaded situation where possible. Assignments are very important and leaving them to last minute not only leaves you stressed and anxious, but it has the potential of impacting upon your final mark at the end of the year. It’s not really worth it.

At the end of the day university is challenging but it is also full of new experiences. Deadlines will always hang over you but as long as you can keep on top of things with your organisation skills and remember to have fun every once and a while, you can and will make it.} else {