NEW (AND OLD)
When I got my offer to study at uni I remember being too shocked and excited to think about anything else. However when I started the official proceedings of enrolling, organising my accommodation and getting ready to move in, I started to imagine what my first year would be like.
In your first year everything is new, every experience is exciting and scary because you don’t know what you are going to be in for. It’s the reason why my first year was exciting, scary and memorable. I couldn’t really control any of it, I just had to let go and go with the flow, which was very hard for me, but it was made my first year the most exciting year of my life.
As time has gone on, these experiences have become routine and therefore not as exciting. As the years go on, no matter how long your degree, everything from assessment tasks to exams to holidays to moving in and out of accommodation, becomes routine or more or less the same.
I’m in my fifth and final year now and I am feeling complacent due to the “so close, yet so far” feeling of approaching the end of five years of routine. I’m sure many of you can relate.
We are all currently approaching the end of the autumn session. From my lengthy experience, myself, as well as many of my friends have mixed feelings around this time. These feelings can include shock at how fast the session has gone by, relief that it is almost over, anxiety with upcoming exams and excitement for the holidays. These feelings are especially strong during the first year.
I’m feeling slightly different than usual with the impending end of this session. I’m feeling shock and frustration by how fast the session has gone by, it has gone by fast, but not fast enough for me. I’m feeling relief that it is almost over. I’m feeling joy about the fact that this is my last session of group work and subjects I don’t want to do and I’m feeling excited about the upcoming holidays. Despite my slightly different feelings because it is my last autumn session, I feel complacency about the end of session, because it is essentially the same as the others. Again, I’m sure many of you can relate.
What I am essentially talking about is the feeling of being in a rut. I’ve only felt this way this year, some of you may feel this way towards the end of your first year or halfway through your second year or at the start of your third year. Who knows, everyone is different. You may not even feel this way at all. I think the best way to get yourself out of a rut is to find ways to break your routine.
The different ways I have done this over the years is by moving to a new accommodation in my third year, staying in Wollongong for the winter holidays instead of going home last year, getting new jobs, finding new hobbies and going for walks. The first three things I have mentioned I have done for bigger reasons than being in a rut, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t help.
For those of you who feel like you are stuck in a uni rut, my best advice is to find some new things to do. Put down the books, step away from your devices and go outside. Go for a walk, go out with friends and find new hobbies. These seemingly small changes can make a hell of a difference. They can motivate you more, reduce your stress and even improve your health. Make the major changes I did if you want, but be financially and mentally prepared for them.
And if you are feeling in a rut due to the impending end of session, remember it is almost over and to give yourself a break every once in a while.