Netflix and…study? Getting back into Semester 2

Though I still can’t get my head around that it’s halfway through my first year at University, things are already moving fast in Semester 2. I have already had deadlines, a hangover, and 3 new spots on my face. Thankfully, I have my second thirty day free trial on Netflix (thank god for University email-addresses) to keep my mind off things!

Nevertheless, I’ve found it a bit hard to get back into the swing of things at Uni; not everything has been hard though. I love being able to choose what to eat, when to go to bed – and basically all the other great things about having freedom as a student that I have re-discovered this semester.

On the other hand, getting back into a study routine – in fact, just a general routine – is harder. As a bit of a square (a complete understatement by the way) I do actually enjoy studying, but when what you’re studying at the moment is really not enjoyable, even on a course you love, it can be hard to find motivation. On top of that, I’ve decided to start exercising (this does not come as naturally to me as studying does) which has been hard to incorporate into my routine too!

One thing which I found had helped was getting up just a bit earlier in the morning, even just an hour – this helped me significantly to get more things throughout the day. The quicker I started my day, the quicker I finished and I had more time to unwind at the end of the day. Another thing I’ve done is resumed making daily lists or goals. They can contain stuff like ‘shopping’ to things as trivial as ‘write anything today.’ Writing down even the littlest of things to do can really help. Making bigger weekly lists help too.

Some people like to throw themselves back into their routine; others like me prefer to ease into it. Either way it can be quite difficult. Many people feel coming back is great – you’re once again on a high similar to the beginning of Uni, and new tutorial groups can mean you meet new people. Yet it can also be a shock to the system, with some feeling homesick or overwhelmed. I was both – on a high since coming back, then a bit homesick. Now, thankfully, I’m fine again.

One of the most important things is just to keep doing the stuff you like – be it working out, going to interesting lectures, getting wasted (maybe not the last one too much)… it’s the stuff and hobbies that you like that keep you going and takes your mind off stuff that gets you down. If you’re just going on a circle of doing errands and studying with no fun in between, inevitably you will get down. Balance is important – I don’t always get it right, but I try definitely try my best too.

Uni is ridiculously stressful but also one of the best times of your life; making the most of it will be one of the best things you ever do.

Dangerous traffic, blue skies and a question of water: my latest trip to India.

Before I start, I want to say I am sorry – it’s been a very long time since I last blogged. Nothing particularly bad had happened (except for maybe exams, which became the bane of my life) I just got super busy and then I was away in India!

As some of you know, I am of Indian origin and I go to see my maternal family every few years. Before this trip the last time I was there was 2015, so it had been a while. I was very excited to go back as I always love going to India; it’s different to Scotland in so many ways and I always learn something new when I got there, be it about family or the country itself.

This time, however, was a particular eye-opener. The city where some of my family reside, Chennai (also known as Madras) has changed a lot. Pollution is worse than ever before, the city has become less clean and population is getting to a point where vehicles on the road cannot even move. Not to mention the major water issue, where there is a shortage of water to drink and for bathing.

Of course, my family are among the more luckier ones compared to other people – my aunt has a house in a nicer area where these issues are not so prevalent. However my uncle is more central in the city and often runs into these problems, including not having running water –  it just goes to show how a middle class family like mine can still struggle, never mind a working class one.

To be honest, this is all I really know of the issue, and I could go on about how the Central Indian Government need to start paying attention to this issue, or even the local authorities in Chennai itself should, but what really hit home for me was how lucky I was to be in the UK. Water never was and never would be an issue for me or my family as long as we were in Scotland. It doesn’t take me two hours to get from one place in Edinburgh to another. Most shockingly, the population of Chennai was the population of my entire country of birth.

It’s one thing watching something like this on the news and another seeing it for yourself, that too in your own family. It put into perspective all the ‘problems’ I had – some of which, of course, were still problems. Yet I felt almost grateful for having the problem of not having a charger for your mobile or having to do University work instead of wondering if I could have a proper shower tonight or a drink of water.

On a lighter note, I also made some great memories – I went to a completely new part of India called Hyderabad, where the traffic was even worse than Chennai; I had lots and lots of food (as per usual), I bought lots of new clothes and my cousins and I made a group chat (may come to regret this later). Most of all, I got to see my family which is always great.

I returned to Scotland feeling incredibly jetlagged and cold, but grateful. It made me want to try harder at everything, give everything a real go, not just a half hearted one. Living on my own definitely gave me a similar epiphany, but this felt different. I had never run into the issues I had run into in India when living alone here in Scotland.

So I guess the take away from this is, whenever you’re feeling down or low, just remember there is someone out there – maybe even someone really close to you – that is having a harder if not harder time than you. It sounds cliché, but I feel simultaneously its equally true. It’s not always the most reassuring thing to think about, but I believe it’s better than nothing.

I’m sorry it’s not been the most cheery blogpost for making a return, but I hope you find the good in this article! I’m planning to make a return for writing once a week and will increase it from there.

You can check out my last article here.