15 things learned from 15 years in education

1. You deserve nice things, so take the time to have them. Take a break and watch a film with friends, bake or cook something nice for yourself, read a good book.

2. Speaking of baking, it's excellent for de-stressing because:

a) You get baked goods at the end so what’s not to like really?

b) Here’s something you made and it’s great

c) It takes time and concentration, keeping your mind off other stresses like studying

3. Squats will keep you awake when you need to pull an all-nighter/late-late night of writing or studying. They keep the brain and blood pumping and won't give you a coffee addiction. NOTE: We’re not endorsing leaving work to the last minute ;)               

4. Take breaks from a screen. Your eyes need it, and spotting spelling and grammar errors are easier when you have paper in front of you...                 

5. And, if you have a headache, try to do something about it! Drink more water, get a towel and drape it over your eyes (very Victorian lady but also effective) or take some pain killers - no need to suffer

6. Painting your nails is not a good idea because you will get distracted looking at the pretty colours when you need to be writing about Cistercian monks

7. Use detailed essay outlines – writing yourself a breakdown of what you want to include in your essay before you start it can make a world of difference when writing under pressure (and makes you feel organised enough to be running a team of superheroes.)

8. Don’t spend the day in PJs. You might not be leaving the house to study but putting on actual clothes will make you feel more prepared. NOTE: Same applies when you reach the world of work and may be working from home. PJs don’t equal productivity.

9. Recognise when to take a break and when to push through the tiredness and boredom and just get down to work

10. If you’re stressed, talk to someone. Anxiety builds easily and bottling it up doesn’t help. Whether they’re a friend, parent, teacher, counsellor, diary or your dog, it’s good to talk

11. DON’T START A NEW SERIES. You might say to yourself “just one episode”, and next thing you know it’s 4am and you’re sobbing over favourite characters. Usually I approve of this but during exam time it’s not a great idea

Seriously I thought “Ciara, you won’t care about this vampire series, you can study for three hours and take a break by watching an episode, it’ll be fine”.  Four hours later and five episodes down and it was very definitely not fine

12. You’ll probably decide that essay crunch time is a perfect opportunity to deep clean your room. You’re right. You should do that. It can be quite relaxing but maybe don’t start that the night before your essay is due when you’re only half way through!

13. The only variable you can control is yourself. Once the essay/exam is out of your hands, you can’t do anything about it, so try not to obsess over it

14. You might lose your appetite because of stress, but eating properly is an essential but that doesn’t mean cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Without enough food you’re quite simply not going to have the energy to study, let alone do the 3am stay awake squats or any other form of exercise you choose. Try to eat healthily and drink lots of water.

15. Your mark is a number. It doesn’t mean anything about you as a person.  As long as you’ve tried your best, then try to be satisfied with what you’ve achieved.

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