It’s taken me over five years to realise that I go stir fry crazy when I’m revising. It’s as if cramming a load of knowledge into my brain pushes out my sanity, leaving me spouting ‘fun facts’ to my friends and singing lyrics of songs that don’t exist. I also begin to wander round the house for no apparent reason. I think this is just my body saying that I need to get up and do something so I don’t suffer muscle wastage but there is also something soul destroying about sitting at my desk or just studying solidly in general.
I’ve always been a believer in breaks and I make sure that I have regular ones so I don’t become a slave to revision. At the beginning of revision season, I use a technique that my dad introduced me to; 25 minutes revising with five minute breaks. It actually makes me vastly more productive because I know that after a set amount of time I’ll be able to have a change of scenery and read my book for a bit. If it’s sunny I venture outside and if it’s raining I’ll fling the window or patio doors open to give me some fresh air in a different room to my pens and note cards.
Although my craziness isn’t as severe as when I was crazy alone during January exams, the presence of my housemates can only do so much to dampen the onset of delirium I seem to experience. The other day I remarked to my friend that I hadn’t worn shoes in nearly 4 days, I thought this was impressive but now I realise that it means I hadn’t left the house in that long either. Yes, I had spent most of my time getting a good dose of vitamin D by revising in the sun but at the same time, being confined to an area that is smaller than your average lecture theatre is a bit depressing. Now I know what animals in a zoo feel like.
The solution is obviously to get out of the house but that’s sometimes a struggle when you’ve set yourself a busy revision schedule that involves covering at least 6 lectures a day. Intense, right? That is unfortunately how I work best; under pressure with lots to fill my time and I don’t think that’s about to change. I’ve never been one to revise in the evening though. On some days, I would catch my housemates revising at 9pm when I’d already been winding down for 3 hours! I felt guilty but I love to keep my evenings free to do whatever I like, it gives me a sense of freedom but it means that I can let my brain settle down and hopefully leads to a good night’s sleep.
I’ve heard that being a PhD student is hard but being an undergraduate is no doddle either! Trying to make sure that I get at least a 2:1 seems like a constant uphill struggle to keep pushing the bar higher whilst balancing on a pile of coursework that resembles a skyscraper. That’s not to say that I’m not enjoying it though! I’ve really come to be interested in what I’m revising and that 20 minute Youtube video on cleaning a brewery was strangely enjoyable.
Moments of craziness, like trying to street dance in the kitchen, remind me who I am and how I cope with stress. I embrace weirdness because if I fight it off now it will only come back to bite me on the bum when I’m least expecting it.