Monday, 15 February 2016

Finding the Balance

Students here at Harlaxton could all be described as suffering from “overstimulation.”  We eat every meal surrounded by a dozen friends, we exercise together, travel together, and relax together. When we have a moment to ourselves, it is usually spent napping or watching an episode of [insert binge-worthy Netflix show here]. In my thus far limited experience as a Harlaxton student, a very difficult aspect of study abroad is the actual studying part. It’s hard to find the balance between picking out a DVD to watch with all of your new friends or reading about the life of Henry IV. There is always something to do and someone to see and so much that gets in the way of taking the appropriate steps to ensure you keep up with your classes. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list to help in sorting out whether you should be hittin’ the books like King Alfred of Wessex or living it up like its 1499.
  1. Find the perfect study space. It's all too easy to tell ourselves we'll get a lot of studying done in the common rooms or in the bistro on a weeknight. Get to know the manor a little bit and seek out a corner that is all your own for the next couple of months, you'll get much more done.
  2. Set your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode. While those group chats we’ve made with our new friends can be a blast, they can also be very distracting. Before you know it, it has been an hour since you last looked at your notes and all you have to show for it are some very clever remarks in a groupme.
  3. Make the time between your last class and dinner the time that you study the most during the day. You have the flexibility of being finished with your courses for the day, you’re less tired than you would be at 10pm when people are watching movies and playing games, and you have dinner to look forward to later (because there just might be chocolate cake.)
  4. Budget time for travel planning. Booking trips is like a whole other course in itself. If you let them, those travel cites will suck you in for hours as you search for a flight to Spain that doesn’t cost you your right arm and first born child.
  5. If you have a test/quiz/presentation or paper due the next day, try and get it all done before 9pm, when the hot chocolate from the bistro starts flowing and movie watchers come out to play.
Being a student on studying abroad is all about the budget. You budget your time and money almost constantly. Using common sense and knowing when its time to haul yourself off to the library can be an extremely useful skill when it comes to being successful abroad. So go put the “Study” in “Study Abroad” and make me proud.

Written by: Sarah Spalding

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