Untitled Design 2023 09 07T151801.826

Top Tips for Tackling T3

By Charlotte Stone

We all know that Trimester 3 can be one of the hardest periods to study over in a number of ways – not only can it be one of the loneliest social periods on campus, with lots of people heading home for the year, but it can also be a dangerous temptation with Christmas, New Years and the beautiful summer weather begging you to take a well-earned break. 

This weird period from late October to early February can feel like a hasty catch-up for the units you missed out on earlier in the year, so it can be easy to get distracted by all of the fun stuff.

Many students even opt to lighten their end-of-year study load by only taking on one unit (like I did!)! Either way,

it’s important to find a healthy, comfortable balance between fun and study during the holiday season. 

Undertaking your first Trimester 3? Here are my top tips! 

1. Plan ahead!

Just because you’re studying over Trimester 3, doesn’t mean you have to give up completely on having a break. There’s enough time to do both!  Since there’s a non-teaching period towards the end of December, it’s worth taking the time to get on top of your coursework early to stay on top of things. It’s easy to get caught off guard in the second half of Trimester 3, when things suddenly kick into gear and you’re still stuck in Christmas mode. If you’re like me and feel motivated by to-do lists, keeping a diary or study schedule can help you stay organised, especially if you’re tackling more than one unit – whether online or a physical diary suits you better, noting down your commitments for the coming weeks can be a huge help figuring out when you need to sit down and get stuff done and when you need to take some needed time off. 

2. Striking a balance  

Speaking of taking some well-deserved time off, studying through Trimester 3 doesn’t mean that you have to be laser-focused on assignments 24/7. If you’re trying to plan ahead, make sure to give yourself some time to relax, too! Set time aside amongst all of your commitments and for some you time – no matter whether that’s beach time, craft, sport or anything you enjoy. Working in 15 minute chunks with 5 minute breaks (or 30 minute chunks, 20 minute breaks, if longer times work for you!). Reducing your screen time when you’re taking breaks is one of the best ways to come back feeling refreshed and motivated, and it’s been scientifically proven that studying in short bursts and taking breaks is more effective than cramming the night before a big exam or a due date. You can even download timer apps like Forest, Plantie or Flipd to keep track of your study, your goals, and keep yourself accountable no matter where you’re working from!   

3. Getting some rest!

A good part of the Trimester 3 break is catching up on the sleep you missed during all of those late nights studying. Did you know that there’s a science behind making sure you get the most productive rest amongst your workload? Researchers recommend that your body needs between 7 and 9 hours of sleep through the night to wake up feeling refreshed and functional; not only will getting some rest make you feel better in the short-term, but it can also boost your immune system, your long-term health, reduce your stress and make you happier! Not only this, but even those short power naps during the day have been shown to make people perform better in tests when they wake up, and can boost your brain power, beating the stigma against napping.

Don’t be afraid to allow yourself a rest when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed – sometimes, that can be all your body needs to reset. 

4. Stay active! 

One of the best ways to avoid study burnout in the later parts of the year is to keep yourself active. It’s very common to start feeling frustrated and low after studying all year long, and these months can be the hardest to find motivation to keep on going. Reaching the end of my degree, studying over Trimester 3 can seem like the most daunting thing in the world. Even though college competitions such as MBPT have wrapped up for the year by the time we hit Tri 3, sports – for me, playing volleyball, working out and going for a run – are still a great way to produce endorphins, keeping you happier and stress-free. Even getting into something like yoga or zumba via Youtube videos is a great way to stay active in your own space or room, whether you’re in college or at home and have limited space to move. SportUNE’s services also have some great ways to stay active between studies – such as the pool, the gym, or classes. 

5. Be kind to yourself. 

Most important of all of the steps (in my opinion), is to be gentle with yourself. Trimester 3 is notoriously the time where most students, including me, tend to lose a lot of motivation. Even when you’re only tackling one unit, it’s easy to get carried away with the excitement of the break or get into a slump. It’s important to remember that you’ve been working hard all year, and it’s okay if you’re starting to feel exhausted with everything. Over these last few big months, there is absolutely no shame in allowing yourself the time to rest and do things you enjoy. The holiday season gives us a great opportunity to take care of ourselves and try and heal any unhealthy study habits (like spending every hour of every day staring at screens and textbooks!), so don’t be disheartened if you feel like you’re falling behind. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself, and be gentle with your body while you study.

When you’re taking care of yourself, study feels a million times less stressful.  

If you ever need support at UNE, you can contact Advocacy & Welfare, the UNE support line at 1300 661 927, or the Student Grievance Unit.