Staying inside

So last week, I got a dreaded text that someone I had come in contact with had tested positive for coronavirus meaning I would have to spend the next ten days self-isolating inside.

I had to say goodbye to my beach plans, my meal plans, my meeting friends plans and say hello to finding ways of entertaining myself alone in my room. The first thing I did was cry, I was so looking forward to making the most of my last couple of weeks at university but there was nothing I could do about it. I told myself after the isolation period I still have a whole week to enjoy at university before I live Reading forever.

I decided the best thing to do would be to get started on the tasks I wouldn’t want to be doing when I got my freedom. I did a bit of work on my CV, started packing up things I won’t be using in the last few weeks and getting myself organised (I didn’t realise how many things I just had lying around that needed to be sorted). And yes, that all sounds very productive but I’m also taking it easy and remembering to look after myself. Drinking plenty of water, taking rests, listening to my body, getting a covid test (luckily it was negative).

I’ve also been making sure to see other people even if it is virtually. I’ve FaceTimed all my family, my boyfriend, other people I know are in isolation and spoken to friends to get me through. Other than that its been a great time for me to work on my different hobbies. I’ve been working on my blog, doing some paint-by-numbers, reading (reviews coming soon) and even learning Italian.

The first few days felt so long but the more I’ve worked out how to spend my days the quicker they go and the closer to freedom I become. I’ve also got into such a great sleep schedule lately so hopefully that will remain when I get back outside.

I have much to look forward to at the end of my isolation period which is getting me through. I’ll have one week left at university and I want to make the most of it!! My vaccine is booked I have days out planned with my housemates and a girls holiday with my friends when I return home.

That’s a wrap…

Last week I completed my last ever exam of my undergraduate degree. It feels like it’s flown by and it hadn’t quite sunk in that I’ve finished university. It’s bitter-sweet as while I don’t want to be over, I can now enjoy the lockdown easing without having to worry about revision or deadlines.

As for what I plan to do after university, I’m still not 100% sure, for now I want to enjoy the freedom but I’m thinking about finding a job. At the moment I’m hoping to go into publishing so we shall see where that takes me. I have so much planned with friends over the summer and so much to celebrate so I want to make the most of this time before I start working full-time.

I’m very much excited for this last month of being at university. Hopefully as the lockdown eases there will be more freedoms. I have a few things lined up; nights out, picnics, barbecue but I’m also just looking forward to being spontaneous. I’m excited for this next chapter of my life but am going to enjoy the university lifestyle while I still can.

What I’ve been up to

So in my last blog post I spoke about how I’ve rebranded my blog. I have taken a good bit of time off as I’ve been busy with university and other things. Also, I feel with the lockdowns I’ve felt uninspired to write but as the restrictions being to lift, I’m getting a lot more excited for the future. I feel I have the motivation to be creative again.

The big thing is university! I’m so close to graduating now and it all seems a bit surreal. All my assignments are done and I now only have my dissertation and exams to go. All is going well and I’m so close to my dissertation being finished, which is crazy as I’ve been working on it for so long. This year due to COVID all exams are online so that’s a bit strange but its the same as last year and hopefully having the time pressure removed will make them a little less stressful.

I have also been reading more, particularly non-fiction and watching more documentaries which is something I’ve loved. I have really enjoying leaning new things and definitely want to consume more. I will be making more posts about things I’ve learnt from these things and whether I think they’re worth it.

It has been difficult to get involved with things at university but I’ve still been trying. I have been getting involved with the debate society which has been great. It’s given me something to look forward to outside of my studies and allowed me to meet new people and make friends. I would recommend joining new societies even if you feel its a little late in your university career. I’ve also been continuing with the university newspaper which has been a bit different this year but still great fun.

I’m looking forward making the most of the last few months at university before I graduate.

Welcome back

As you may be able to tell my blog as changed since I last posted. I’ve decided to reinvent Student Life and Beyond as Eden Emily Blogs. I feel this creates something more personal and allows me to talk about so much more than being a student.

As you may know from my previous posts, I will be graduating in the summer and will therefore not be a student anymore. Though I want to document the rest of my student experience, I want to be able to use this blog to talk about many other lifestyle elements.

Of course, I will continue talking about student life and how I am navigating it, giving you all my top tips. That’s where this blog began and is something I want to keep at the heart.

I also want to post more book reviews. Before I mainly focused on fiction but I have realised there is a whole world of non-fiction out there. I have really enjoyed learning new things and just gaining a wider perspective on society through reading. I’ve also been watching more documentaries for the same reason. I feel they inspire me and make me want to consume more which I can then share with you.

This brings me on to another thing I’d like to share. I’m on a mission to be more sustainable. A lot of the documentaries I have been viewing have made me change my outlook on life and pushed me to want to be more sustainable. I know I won’t be perfect but I want to share the journey.

I also want to just share other thoughts on life, write posts about what I’m up to, what I’m enjoying and how life is in general. I feel this rebrand will help me step out of the student bubble and into a wider world.

As you may be able to see I have two new tabs on my home page! Lifestyle is everything related to my life that I don’t feel comes under the Uni Life category and New Things is everything I do that is something new to me. I’ve decided as the lockdown restrictions ease, I want to try doing new things, maybe push myself out of my comfort zone and this is the perfect place to document them.

Top tips: online learning

Online lectures and seminars can often feel like they’re not the real thing. Watching someone speak on a screen can mean it’s easy to get distracted and lose concentration. It can be difficult but it’s still important to use these sessions and make the most of them so here are my top tips to try and remain focused.

Find a quite space to study – though it can be difficult to find this space dependent on where you’re living at the moment, it’s important to be away from distractions. Even just putting on some headphones to block out the background noise can be beneficial to engaging in what’s being said.

Distance yourself from distractions – I’d recommend putting your phone away or at least on do not disturb so that you aren’t tempted to scroll through instagram or check your notifications. Plus it’s always a good idea to take some time away from your phone and this is the perfect opportunity to create some distance. Look out for what sort of things you find distracting when learning online to try and work out what the best environment would be for you to work in.

Treat it as you would treat an in person lecture – take notes, ask questions, do the preparation to truly make the most of these lectures and to truly understand the content. I find that engaging and putting my ideas across really helps me to concentrate and take in the information. It also helps to make sure you have a good understanding if you put your thoughts on the topic out there as you can hear how others may agree or disagree with your points. As much as it’s important to make the most of your contact hours, remember it can be difficult to adjust and that you should give yourself credit for getting through it.

Keep on top of your work – it can be so easy to put off doing work when there is less structure surrounding university. However, the best way to not make unnecessary stress is to try not to fall behind. Keeping up with work by doing it regularly may seem difficult when you have a lack of motivation but you will thank yourself in the future when you don’t have work piling up.

Top tips on being a student in a pandemic

Once again we find ourselves in lockdown which means for many of us we won’t be going back to university until at least mid-February. Of course this can make many things a lot harder; living situations, accessing course materials, online learning. To help you get through it I’m going to be doing a series of posts on these different topics to hopefully help you be a bit more productive and a bit less stressed. Of course these are things that work for me, they won’t work for everyone, but if you’re feeling a bit lost you might as well give them a try.

At the moment I am living at home after returning for the Christmas break and attempting to get my work done. I’ve been trying to put little things in place to help myself stay productive but it’s always important to remember that these are very strange times. It’s important to remember that you may not feel as encouraged at the moment, don’t beat yourself up about this because it’s only natural to feel a bit of a strain on your work at the moment.

With working on my dissertation, assignments, seminars and reading there’s a lot to be doing and it can be nice to have something to focus on at the moment. However, the importance of taking a break is a big as ever. Go for a walk, watch a bit of Netflix, call a friend, make sure you’re doing things to relax yourself so that you can feel that bit more fresh and ready to go.

I’m back

So the last time I posted was back in November, though it seems like no time, it’s been over a month. As much as I love doing my blog and engaging with those who read it, being back at university means I’ve been very busy.

However, I first set up my blog because I love writing and sharing my thoughts as a hobby. It is something I enjoy doing and so I really want to get back into doing it as something to help me take a break from university work.

Being in third year there is definitely a lot more to focus on than previous years but of course it’s always important to find things you can use as a way to relax. So, I’m going to get back into sharing my thoughts and feelings about university life with you all.

Hopefully you’ll all be seeing a bit more of me on my blog in the coming month and I very much look forward to getting back into my writing.

Book Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

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What’s it about? Eight friends go on their annual Christmas break to an isolated lodge in Scotland. Other than an Icelandic couple and two workers they’re the only people for miles. As the weather gets worse they realise there is no way for them to leave or the outside world to get to them making it ever more troubling when a body is found. It doesn’t look like an accident, so what happened?

What did I think? I really enjoyed this book, it was told through the eyes of the three women in the party and the two workers. It’s very secretive, we want to find out who is the murderer and who was murdered. Though there were parts which were predictable, I felt I was still hooked as there were parts I couldn’t quite work out. Though it did take a while to set up the story and get into it once you get past the first few chapters you won’t be able to stop. I felt the character all worked really well, they all had distinct personalities with their own secrets. These all greatly added to the story as there was suspicion surrounding everyone.

Would I recommend? I would, I feel it’s just such a good murder mystery and slightly different as we don’t actually know who the victim is for the majority of the book. I’ll definitely be reading another of Lucy Foley’s some time soon.

The next book I’ll review: Vox by Christina Dalcher

Organising my life

I know I’ve definitely spoken on here about how much I love my planner in keeping me organised. Since I got one for Christmas last year I’ve used it so much and already put one on my list for this year. But being in third year I’ve found the need to keep organised so much more important; there always seems to be so much to do and it’s almost difficult to keep up. If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ve probably noticed I haven’t been posting as much lately but hopefully over the coming weeks I can begin to become more organised so that I can get more things done.

Now that I’ve started third year there seems to be so much to think about. To think that I used to think that third year was just the dissertation, I also have to focus on my other modules and meet those deadlines. Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about after university, applying for grad schemes in the hope I’ll have something secure when I graduate. With all these things to think about even before taking time to relax and getting involved with extra-curricular activities, it’s vital to stay organised.

The important thing is to realise is that it’s important to prioritise the upcoming deadlines without neglecting further deadlines. While it’s necessary to complete essays due in before Christmas I’ve still been working on my dissertation without bringing that forward as the priority at the moment.

With that in mind I like to ensure that I have all my deadlines written down with little reminders in the few weeks before. By working out how long things will take I can ensure that I factor enough time for each thing into my plans so as to not fall behind.

Thankfully I’ve lately had enough time to do everything I need to but hopefully I can work on being more organised so I have more time for the things I enjoy.

Give yourself a break when you need it

As reading week draws to a close, I must say I’ve been glad for the break. For me this marks half way through the first term and has given me the chance to catch up on work but also to have a relax which is always important. Especially with the second lockdown stress levels are high and so it’s vital to make sure you look after yourself

Of course university work is important but so is your mental health, in fact the latter is more important. Understanding what you need to ensure you feel good is something you should explore. Working yourself out to find that balance between getting work done and looking after yourself is always a good idea. Maybe you work a certain amount of hours in the day and give yourself a break in the evening or you focus strongly on work in the week to give yourself time at the weekend for yourself. It’s all about finding what’s best for you.

You should never feel guilty for having a break. Even if you feel you haven’t been working at your best lately don’t punish yourself by pushing your mind and body to breaking point. It can be difficult when you have so many things on and so many deadlines looming to just take a step back and give yourself the space you need to get back on track. The way I see it if I allow myself a break I will be more productive when I get back to working as I have refreshed myself and my mind is not running at a million miles an hour.

The perfect way to give yourself this time away from your studies would be to do something away from your work space. Even if you just move to a different room to watch some Netflix or read a book you’re resetting yourself to get back into work. A good way to relieve stress is through exercise, whether that’s at home or outside, do what feels right for you. Maybe go on a walk and get some fresh air, let your mind wonder, ask those you live with to join you and just have a nice chat. Call or message a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while for a catch up. These things not only give you that break you need but give you something else that hopefully will add to your happiness. But also if you just feel like doing absolutely nothing for a little while that’s fine too, find what feels good for you.

My biggest piece of advice is not to wait until you feel desperate for a break, give yourself time off so you don’t get to a point of burnout. Make sure to look after yourself especially in this pandemic and now that England has gone into a second lockdown. Remember there are people there for you if you need them, treat yourself right and remember whatever you are feeling you’re not alone.