Looking after yourself

When the university workload builds up, it can be easy to think that working harder will improve things. But if your lecturers are the only people you see in a week, then you need to make some changes. It is not only unhealthy, but that sort of lifestyle is also detrimental to your study.

Spending 100% of your time studying does not guarantee you a good marks. Being tired, stressed or sick will make studying harder. The key to good study is balance.

Consider these few things.

Exercise

The human body is built to move. This means exercising (or not) will impact on your study. Many studies link exercise to improved memory and attentiveness (google it!).

Almost any moderate-intensity activity counts, so consider taking up a sport or an activity with some level of physical exertion (not chess). If you are new to town and don’t know who to contact, the University has sports teams you could join. You might even end up at the University Games.

Consider using exercise as a healthy way to break up your study routine. Download our Weekly Planner helpsheet and schedule it in.

Sickness

Avoid it. When you’re sick, concentration and learning are not what your body needs. On-campus health centres offer bulk-billed (free) appointments for students. Domestic students can access free consultations at most other clinics in the community with a Medicare card and Health Care card.

If you are unwell and an assessment is due, find out about applying for special consideration to give you time to recover and finish the task.

Diet

Having a poor diet is NOT a criteria of being a student. What you put into your body affects how well your brain absorbs information. It also impacts on your resistance to illness.

Apply common sense and minimise ‘instant’ meals. Vary what you eat, take the time to prepare decent meals. Spend a few hours on the weekend preparing meals and freeze them. What else is a freezer for?

The University also offers a community food pantry to support students struggling financially.

Financial matters

It is a fact that eating helps your brain to function, so having some form of income is necessary. Balancing the time you spend working and studying is important, because if you overwork, your studies will suffer. Getting good grades involves doing extra study outside your contact hours, so if you try to work between your lectures, tutorials or other fixed uni sessions, you risk burning out.

Being a student gives you some options such as discounted prices, bursaries and grants, but they won’t come looking for you. The University has numerous supports in place to help you with finances while you are studying: inform yourself now.

Socialising

It is important to talk to people. We’re social creatures and, however introverted you may be, interaction with others is healthy. Take time to catch up with friends – it will help relieve stress and put study into perspective. Your friends are your support network, so tackle the challenge of uni life together.

You could always consider connecting with other students through a club or society.

Relaxation

When you learn or create things, your brain needs time to consolidate the information. Rather than spending continuous hours studying, try intersperse study with relaxing activities, like a short walk, a coffee or even a nap.

Your subconscious brain is clever, and will continue working while you do something else. Relax and let your brain go to work. But do more than think about it, download our Weekly Planner helpsheet and schedule time to relax.

Sleep

Sleep deprivation is a form of torture for a reason – getting enough sleep is critical to healthy body function. Aim to have about eight hours’ sleep a night. Getting enough sleep has a huge effect on your ability to study. A tired brain is bad at remembering and worse at learning – ask any new mother. Routine is good for your body; if your sleep schedule is erratic, your body will have no idea what it is supposed to be doing. Get some sleep.

If you are struggling to switch off at night, try to exercise more. If that sounds like a silly idea, try a sleep app to help you wind down.