How to go with the flow, as a student
Everything you can’t control – let it go.
Remember when you first started your degree and how confusing it all seemed. Did you find yourself getting flustered wondering what units to enrol in to, which textbooks to buy, when to begin your assessment, and if you should write notes in a colourful binder… or on your computer. It’s enough to give anyone a headache.
Fast-forward to your second or third year of study and you, like myself, may be enrolling the day lectures start, putting off buying textbooks until the first reading, and missing the first full week of classes because you circled the wrong date in your calendar – happens to the best of us.
Student life is not always “perfect”. Wanting to stay on top of your course work is something every student strives for, but what happens if your organisation and motivation begin to unravel?
No matter how far in advance you work out a schedule, begin your assessments, and create good study habits – there is no way to plan for the unpredictable – with majority of our capital city’s going into lockdown, this seems pretty relevant right now!
Instead of getting stressed – angry – or frustrated over something that is out of our control, we learn to go with the flow.
What are some things out of our control that might disrupt student life?
- Natural disaster or global pandemic
- Sporting injury or illness
- Hardship at home or with friends
- Tech Issues. Ever had your computer crash and delete your recent work? (ain’t that fun)
- Losing motivation for your studies – again, happens to the best of us.
There’s way more that could be added to the above, however, these are some common disruptions and ones that I personally have experienced over the past three years studying at UNE.
Going with the flow doesn’t mean you ignore these disruptions altogether, but rather it’s about learning to accept when things don’t go to plan and finding ways to cope when that happens.
Here’s a few ways you can practice going with the flow:
1.Realise that you can’t control everything. There will always be things out of our control that will impact our lives. If we don’t accept that then we will always be frustrated. Once you can accept that “it is what it is” then you can begin to become aware of your emotions. Step back and ask yourself, what you are feeling and why?
2.Once you’ve become aware of how you are feeling – take a big breath. In through the nose, and out through the mouth. Deep breathing is important because it sends messages to your brain to calm down. When I find myself concerned about something my mind tends to wonder form the present. When this happens, I like to try and sit in stillness for 3-5 minutes and will focus solely on my breathing. The more you practice mindful breathing, the more it becomes a habit.
3.Find another perspective. Alright, so your computer deleted your assignment. What the worst-case outcome? You end up submitting the assessment late. You might even fail the unit and end up redoing it next trimester… But maybe you didn’t think through all the options. So instead, you take a deep breath, understand that it’s a frustrating situation. Once you’ve calmed down you email your unit coordinator and get into contact with Advocacy & Welfare to see which options might work best for you at this time.
It’s important to step back from a situation and try to find another perspective. By seeing the bigger picture, you remove yourself from whatever the situation is that is making you upset and can begin to think logically about it. Before you jump to the worst-case scenario there’s probably a solution in front of you.
4. It’s important to realise that any skill takes time to master. Learn to become aware of your emotions free of judgment, because you will mess up – we all do. Just keep practicing and remind yourself you are learning. You’ll get the hang of it.
5. Accept change and imperfection. One of my favourite quotes from Antoni Gaudi is, “there are no straight lines in nature” – figuratively this is a quote about architecture. But to interpret it in a broader sense, there are always going to be bumps along the road – nothing will stay the way you like it, and that’s totally okay.
These tips aren’t just for surviving your studies, they are habits for life. However, if you find yourself in need of assistance, whether it be personal or to do with your studies, reach out to the team at Advocacy & Welfare, they are here to support you!
Just because we can’t be together on campus, doesn’t mean we can’t all stay connected. The UNE Bunker Down Facebook group is a safe space where all UNE students, online or on-campus, can stay connected.
You’re never far from help at UNE. The team at Advocacy and Welfare offers confidential support to students! Contact them here.
Student Success also has confidential counselling for students, you can find them here.
Lifeline is also a 24/7 hotline and you can call them on 13 11 14