A Happier New Year

Sam Cribb looks at how you can make the transition back to uni this week (or if your lucky, next week) that little bit easier.


“So, how was your Christmas?”

“Yeah, it was great!”

“Excited for next term?”


Christmas has come and gone, the last week of the year has been a total (but well-deserved!) write-off—that new Lego Avengers Mansion wasn’t going to build itself, after all, but if anyone asks you went skiing—and now it’s time to head back to Uni. Just when you’ve settled back in at home.

Going home for the holidays might be a tradition, what with all the Disney films and the songs about it, but it can be something of a double-edged sword. Personally, whenever I get back to my parents’ house, I find it all too easy to revert back to my teenage self. I get in, have a coffee, and before I know it I’m holed up in my room playing Ratchet & Clank and hollering that yes, I am ready for tea, I’ll be right there, like it’s 2009 all over again. Anyone mentions The Future and I stick my head in the sand. Well, snow. Well, puddle. So how can one overcome this Stockholm Syndrome to get back in the saddle for the new term? Here’s a few short pieces of advice. They might sound basic, but I promise they’ve helped me (even if I don’t always manage to follow them), and I hope they can help you too.

  • Break it down to avoid a breakdown. As students, we’re often told to think about The Big Picture and what we’ll do when we Graduate, but holistic thinking is no help in trying to re-establish a routine on a micro level. Got to plough through 15 books for your module which starts next week? Don’t panic. Read 50 pages a day and you’ll finish the term’s set texts by Week 6. Don’t worry about how insurmountable the big tasks seem. Just think about your next few steps.
  • No More Zero Days°. I can’t take credit for this, but I do want to share it with you. Essentially: just don’t do nothing. There are obvious exceptions—time spent with loved ones on Christmas isn’t really procrastination—but even if you’ve been binge-watching RuPaul’s Drag Race since you woke up, just write one line of your essay or send one work-related email to ensure that your day isn’t wasted. Productive doesn’t have to mean twelve hours working.
  • Small Change is Good. Look, we all know change is scary and bad, but some small change can be useful. I’m not saying count your 5ps (although I bet shiny silver things will be useful in the apocalypse), but rather, if you’re struggling to be productive in the face of the upcoming term, changing a few little things might have a domino effect. If you’re at home, try working in a new location: a coffee shop, a library, even a different room in the house, and it’ll be harder to fall back on old habits*. That said, you might encounter new distractions. If that’s the case, try changing tasks for a while to re-invigorate yourself. If you keep getting side-tracked from an essay, switch to doing some laundry or walking the dog instead.

Remember, of course, to take some time to relax and recharge before the new term really kicks into gear. Once you’ve worked out how to work, be careful not to overwork. If you’re consistently productive, some of that time you’d spend panicking becomes free! Remember, you are in control – and with that in mind, I’d like to wish you a truly happy (and happier) New Year.


*Credit to Joe Parkinson for the “change of scenery” portion of this tip!