1. It’s okay to take a break, defer, drop some classes, or go part-time if you need to. It’s also totally fine to ask for extensions when your mental health is getting the better of you and your life is up in flames. Just make sure you let your tutors and whatnot know when it’s happening so that you can deal with it sooner and everything doesn’t get beyond the point of repair.
2. Read the readings before your lectures. As the Nike ads taught us: Just do it! No matter what you tell yourself in that moment of giving in and binge watching Master of None on Netflix, there’s no way you’re actually going to get to the readings later. If that’s your strategy, before you know it you’ll have a pile of readings about as tall as your procrastination levels. Do the readings first, then get back to binge-watching without the guilty conscience.
3. Go to the lectures. You’ll be more engaged with the course, and you’ll be around other people doing the same classes, which will make you feel more like you’re a part of everything than if you’re listening to them alone at home under a doona fort. Even complaining about your classes in the company of other fellow-students will make you feel more involved. Besides, you’re more likely to take things in at the lecture IRL than if you’re listening to it while scrolling through ten other tabs.
4. Don’t buy food! Okay, that was hyperbolic, you can buy food sometimes. But if you’re anything like the average student then you’re probably somewhat broke and spend the remains of your hard earned money on food because, well… you’re only human. But this tactic will just lead to more poverty and depression, especially if you’re splurging every day on your favourite cuisine. Prove the baby boomers wrong by not spending your life savings on overpriced avocado toast. Bring food! Bring as many snacks as possible. Hell, bring your own avocado toast. And when you want to reward yourself, buy yourself a three-course meal consisting of dumplings, dumplings and more dumplings.
5. There’s always a way. Failed an assignment? A class? Feeling like your whole world is crumbling onto the clothing piled floor of your procrastination and foolishness? Let’s not deny it, it sucks. And it’s hard to stay motivated when everything is, well…totally fucked. But before the doomsday images start flashing in your mind and you consider fleeing to Reykjavík, remind yourself that there’s always another way. You can ask for an extension, take up another class, redo the class, transfer to another course, finish Uni in the future, complete your course online. Consult your local professors and information people.
6. Let go of your crazy expectations about your Uni experience. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be ambitious or desire the best out of your education. It just means that we need to stop internalising these ideas about what our time at Uni should look like. You should 100 per cent try and get as involved in the #Unilifestyle as possible; join all the clubs and go to all the ridiculous events. But try not to get caught up in achieving some peak image of a University student. Turning up? Making a few acquaintances or friends that you enjoy talking to and you can swap advice about assignments with? Learning something? You’re doing it right. There’s no wrong way to do Uni. Basically, just do you. Get involved as much as you can handle. Push yourself to do as much of the readings and extra readings as possible. But don’t make your goals completely unachievable. And don’t feel down on yourself for not being the perfect student with HD’s, and your own place, and a semester in Europe, and a career right around the corner. It will all come together in good time.
7. Stop being afraid of looking lame. Wear trackies to class if that’s what makes you comfortable. Raise your hand in the lecture and ask as many questions as you want. Discuss your totally uncool interests with fellow classmates. Sit by yourself without shame. Sit next to someone you want to get to know. Everyone else is just trying to survive too. So the sooner you stop worrying about trying to impress everyone, the sooner you’ll stop stressing so much about every tute and freaking out every time you walk into campus.