One thing I advocate a lot is the fact that we should not compare ourselves to others. This is a particularly pertinent issue during exam time when everyone is working towards the same deadlines.
If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that every person is different. Me, personally? I hate working during the day. In the morning I’m tired and unfocused; I’m not a morning person right now. In the afternoon there are so many better things I think I could be doing with my time. In the evening, that’s when I knock it out of the park (‘it’ being the books, and sadly not a ball).
Half way through the day someone could approach you and ask how much work you’ve done today. You hear how they’ve been “in the library since 9” and they’ve “almost finished the module.” Wonderful! For them. But it’s so easy to slip into spiral of questioning yourself. It’s that negativity that, for some people, can cause unproductive stress. That’s the kind of stress that makes you sit there and watch a string of Youtube videos on the ‘Best Made in Chelsea arguments.’ And before you know it you don’t even know which characters you’re watching anymore, but at least you’re not studying, right? It’s the kind of stress that makes you sit in a panic and question whether you even have enough time to learn this topic, and whether you should give up altogether. Everyone else is so far ahead of you, aren’t they? It’s the kind of stress that makes you think that tidying your room and doing all of the washing up and cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen is what needs to be done RIGHT NOW. We’ve all been there. And we all have to drag ourselves, kicking and screaming, out of it.
The early birds will probably stop in the early evening. And they’ll probably feel horrendous seeing your ‘look at me I’m studying‘ Snapchats of you being in the library super late. And so the I-hate-myself-for-procrastinating-but-it’s-better-than-facing-work-and-self-loathing-so-I’ll-just-put-it-off state perpetually continues.
My point? WHO CARES WHAT ANYONE ELSE IS DOING?! The more I focus on what everyone else is doing, the less I’m looking at my work. The more I’m trying to succeed at being a morning, an afternoon and an evening study-person, and I end up failing at all of them.
You don’t need the panic. You know what works for you. Stick with it and remember everyone is struggling through this. Focus on what you have to do and get it done, whichever way works for you.
This is the best time to create your own schedule. University is one of those weird bubble periods of life with very little structure. When I was at school I worked loads in the morning because I had to be awake for lessons, and the library wasn’t anywhere near open 24 hours a day. But right now, I’m loving the freedom of working when it suits me, and not when I have to. It’s a pleasant change from the 13 years of school structure; A nice break before big, scary, adult work starts. So, excuse me, but I’m going to embrace it.
And here is a little pep talk, because god knows we all need it right now:
You can do this. I know it and you know it. All that matters is how badly you want this. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the library in the morning, or if you’re working from 7pm til 3am. Or even if you work for two hours at random times during the day. It. does. not. matter. Get it done. Keep yourself happy. That is the single most important thing you can do in the pursuit of succeeding. Don’t wallow. Be real with yourself. Set manageable and realistic goals. Avoid getting overwhelmed; it will only cause you to procrastinate. Take time out when you need it. If you’re a crammer, cram! If you’re a hard-core preparer, prepare! Stop looking at everyone else and focus everything you have on the goal. Do it your way. And don’t stop until you’ve achieved it.
You’re you, not them, and that’s all you really need to be.