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Rosie Crawford is our current Student Ambassador and the recipient of the 2020-21 FindAMasters Scholarship. Take a look at her hints and tips to help maintain a healthy work-life balance and to look after your mental health.
Whilst studying for my Masters I knew it was important to look after my health and wellbeing the best I could, even though this was made much harder by the pandemic. I've put together what I found helped me into a video that I hope can help you too!
Hey everyone my name is Rosie and I’m your FindAMasters ambassador for this year and today I’m going to be answering some questions about maintaining a healthy work-life balance particularly during Covid because it's very different and when you're stuck in one room it does make it much harder to sort of separate the two. I’m also going to be briefly touching on the jump between undergraduate and Masters degrees.
How do you make sure you have a healthy balance between studying and leisure time?
So I find that planning your time is the best thing to help with this. As a general rule for sort of splitting my time between work and social life I try to follow the rule of eight which means you have eight hours of sleep, eight hours play and eight hours work every day. You could have just a to-do list in a notebook for example that you can tick off but what I’ve found is that if your to-do list is too long or if your to-do list has say, an entire assignment as one of the tick boxes then it can feel quite demotivating and you just never switch off because that task isn't finished. You need to set smaller goals. I found that you procrastinate so much less when you do split it into these smaller chunks because you know that goal is attainable and you don't feel demotivated because you're not making a dent in something.
What activities do you do in your spare time that aren't associated with studying?
My favourite things to do at the moment are going for walks because I mean, I can't go to the gym. I used to love going to the gym. I would just go to the gym switch off, plug my headphones in but as it's corona time that's not possible so going for walks are similar in that they clear your head. Maybe go for runs? I do not like running, I hate it, it's not for me I’ll stick to walking! I do like doing HIIT workouts - it's like 10 minutes of your day where you're sweating really hard and you're letting these endorphins out and then you feel great for the rest of the day and it hardly eats into your day at all. I do love to watch Netflix though and Prime. My favourite show at the moment is Handmaid's Tale because I read the book over summer and it was incredible, if you haven't seen it I would recommend! Zoom quizzes again pretty much got me through each of the lockdowns we've had so far. Every Friday and every Saturday I have a different group of friends on Zoom - we either chat, do quizzes or we simply play games on the phones like Psych, for example, that's a good one and Scribblio on the computer. You can basically play Pictionary with everyone and it's great.
Masters study can be a big step up from undergrad. How did you prepare for that change?
So I took a year out which meant that the jump I think was so much bigger because I completely switched off the studying part of my brain and the university part of my brain. It was gone and I had to bring it back in order to do my Masters but what helped most is that throughout the year I did these online courses with Future Learn and they were related to the course that I was doing at Masters. They don't have to be you could just keep learning new things that you want but by doing courses that were related to my Masters course it meant that my brain was thinking about things that I was going to learn and I was getting more and more excited about what I was going to learn on my Masters course and it did give me a baseline knowledge. They just keep you interested and I think that's the key thing, you don't have to get ahead in order to try and already learn the course that you're about to pay to be taught. Let your teachers teach you. If need to stay interested getting some books that appeal to you and that you think are related to your course are also really helpful. Some Masters courses might have reading lists online, don't feel the need to buy all those books because you'll be able to get them from the library when you get there but if there's a couple that you just want to buy so that you've got something to read over summer that can be helpful.
Is there anything you'd wish you'd known to help or is there anything you're doing differently now compared to your undergraduate?
Yeah, for sure I wish I’d been more organised at undergrad. I thought I was organised but actually, when I look back and I look at my filing it's so poor. There's absolutely no wonder I got overwhelmed with my work and the amount of content. I’d have readings left, right and centre that were in random folders, they weren't numbered in any way and the best thing that I’ve found that I’m doing now is when I’ve read something, number it and make an index of all of the readings that you've got either for each subject or just all together and put a summary of that reading next to the number so that when you come back to it you know okay, that's reading one, that's reading two, what were they about and you just read your summary. It means you don't have to spend hours scouring notes that you've made, it helps with organisation and it also means you can look back if you're revising and see if a specific article would be worth reading again or would be worth citing in an exam for example.
Thank you for watching this video! I hope it was helpful and if you have any requests for videos that would be useful then do write them down in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.
Read Rosie's introductory blog to learn a bit more about her course, her background and her Masters journey so far.
Take a look at some of the experiences and advice posted by students on our blog over the years.
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