Post-Freshers: How To Combat Ostrich Syndrome

Have you got your head buried in the sand about your new-found responsibilities at university? Is your work slipping? Or perhaps you never had hold of it…

Here are some sure-fire ways to get back on track and beat the extended hangover of your first term.


Once a fresher, not always a fresher

Enjoy the honeymoon period of your first week of freedom. Formulate your new identity and assert your independence – but once the term begins, you will need to assess your priorities.

Being a student is your profession; put the same amount of effort in as you would a new job. You wouldn’t turn up late to work in the first few months, so don’t do that at university! Start with good habits and they will stick with you throughout your university years and beyond. Also, it’ll keep you on your lecturer’s good side, which will help when it comes to exam time.


You need a strategy

This doesn’t have to be a really scary 8am – 8pm timetable, detailing your every move and rigidly regimenting your tea breaks. You can take a normal approach to life, evaluating your strengths and weakness as a student and planning around them.

If you tend to leave your essays and assignments to the very last minute, work at building a buffer of a day, giving you time to complete that surprisingly tricky bibliography, or proof-read one last time before you submit. Alternatively, if you know you never get any work done during the morning, plan this to be time for socialising or going to the gym, so that you have enough time in the evening to get it completed.

A wonderful thing about university life is that you get to choose your priorities and plan your schedule. Though this can be intimidating at first, you can make sure the positives outweigh the negatives and enjoy your freedom.


Have a budget!

This is such an important aspect of finding your feet in the adult world. You need to know where your money is going so that you don’t get stuck towards the end of the winter term without enough cash to put on the heating.

It’s an unfortunate reality that Student Finance maintenance loans often don’t even cover all of your rent. But this is something you should know early on, because you will need to have a plan of how to cover the rest of your living expenses.

If you need to get a part-time job, plan this in advance so that you won’t have to take on crippling hours during the exam season! Budgeting doesn’t have to be difficult; you can find plenty of resources on sites like YouTube to help you get started.


Have some down-time planned

Make sure you aren’t going out every night of the week during term time. University is more of a party if you can try and keep on top of your workload.

If you know how you are going to get your assignments completed on time, you aren’t going to have to worry about that when you’re at the pub with your mates. Also, you’ll know whether you have time to take that spontaneous trip to Manchester at the weekend, without having to madly type a 3000 word essay on your phone in the train on Sunday night.

Ensure you have the time to plan your life and have some rest, so that exhaustion doesn’t make your work harder than it is.


Seek help if you can’t cope

Recognising that you aren’t coping is the first step to getting on top of things. Universities are designed for students and have resources to help you in all aspects of life, from financial planning to mental health.

Your responsibilities might seem overwhelming to begin with. That’s understandable; you’ve been thrown in at the deep end. Seeking help earlier will stop any problems from becoming too huge or scary that can’t face them. Find support services that can help you when you are struggling.

If things become too much you can always call Nightline, an anonymous helpline for students to discuss their issues. The operators are current students and can offer helpful advice and resources to help you get back on track.


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