Woman working in front of her laptop, with a can of drink next to her.

June 10, 2023, by Lucy Cooper

Reflections on another semester: a balancing act

With exam season slowly coming to a close, the wind-down period of the semester has started, calling for a time of reflection. Our semesters (and time at uni across the academic year) are really very short so it’s important to take time to consider and reflect before allowing the time to fly by. I’ve found that the more time I spend at uni, the quicker the academic years and semesters seem to fly past.

The biggest lesson that I learned this semester was certainly time-management. The end-of-year assessments period became a delicate balancing act, especially when faced with other commitments such as part time jobs and extracurricular activities. I slowly managed to climb the steep mountain of coursework and exams ahead of me whilst mostly carrying on with other activities that I enjoy. Whilst deadline season certainly wasn’t enjoyable, the feeling of being part of a community (especially in the library) of students helped me through. Taking regular breaks also became incredibly important, and I spent a lot of this time at David Ross.

Whilst I was working through these deadlines, I certainly wasn’t able to make the most of the city. Whilst Nottingham city centre certainly has a lot to offer to students, I often found myself too busy to have the time to make a visit. I mostly stuck to Beeston, with its proximity to campus and convenience helping me through the end of the semester. I intend on making the most of the city centre now, having thankfully finished my exams, in order to make the most of its attractions and (hopefully) good weather.

Learning to balance coursework, part-time work and a social life whilst staying healthy was certainly a challenge, and I think most students during this time of year see at least one of these slip down their list of priorities, whether on purpose or by accident. Amongst all the deadlines, whilst I was able to continue going to the gym in order to give myself breaks from my laptop, my cooking and quality of nutrition declined. I took advantage of ready meals and easy dinners, which whilst delicious, were definitely not the best fuel. Looking back I should have done more batch cooking but it was hard to motivate myself to cook for three hours knowing I already had a lot of uni work to do.

After a tiring and stressful semester, I’m looking forward to the summer break to get some much-needed sunshine and rest. Whilst busy, I enjoyed the semester and my time at uni over these past few months, and have also enjoyed reflecting on my pre-deadline memories too!

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