The summer term is upon us, here are our top tips for surviving those long library days

Stop stressing, stock up on snacks and get your ass to work

The sun is shining, Arc’teryx season is out and sunglasses are in. Unfortunately for us students, this means summer exams are looming, on top of what seems to be a never-ending list of deadlines. This term at uni is hectic and you won’t want to miss out on formals, wild swimming, and all the other Bristol summer rites of passage, so any time you do your work you need to make it count. Here is a guide to help you survive summer term and make those gruelling days in the library a little less painful.

1. Location, location, location

Picking a good place to sit for the day can genuinely make or break a study session. If you need the judgement of other people to motivate yourself to work, the middle aisle in Wills or Senate UG will be perfect. If you’re more of a solitary studier, find a booth in the ASS or go to the chemistry building. There are also loads of smaller buildings on campus you might not have considered but have really nice vibes, like the Fry Building or the Queen’s library. Make sure to find a place with working plugs, you don’t want to finally get in the flow and then have to relocate when your Apple ecosystem inevitably dies.

2. Prioritise breaks

The key to staying sane in the library is having substantial breaks throughout the day. More than just giving yourself a phone break every now and then, you need to remove yourself from the study zone to keep the brain fresh. It sounds obvious, but sitting outside for lunch is a really great way to break up your day. The steps outside the Victoria Rooms are perfect if you’re studying in Wills or Beacon, and if you’re closer to Senate, Royal Fort Gardens and the benches outside the Hawthorns are great spots.

3. Rope your friends in

Everything seems a bit less overwhelming when you realise you’re not the only one with mountains of work to do, and there will always be someone in a worse position than you – special shoutout to that person who makes us all feel better. Doing assignments with your coursemates is helpful not only to have someone to relate to, but for advice and help. At the same time, seeing friends who are doing different degrees is so important just to touch grass for a minute and realise this assignment is not the end of the world.

4. Work efficiently

As tempting as it is to make the library a time to browse Vinted, stalk someone you knew 8 years ago, and then attempt to name all the countries of the world, a study day becomes a lot less painful if you force yourself to get work done and then get out of there ASAP. Of course, this is easier said than done, but a major game changer is to chunk up your study day instead of setting out to do work for endless hours. Set a 30-minute timer, or however long suits you, and then after that you can have a 5-minute break, and repeat. This makes working much more manageable where the end is in sight. The app Flora has a similar premise, and many swear by it, but for those chronically addicted to their phones, a simple timer on the laptop avoids the need to go on your phone at all.

5. Utilise the uni!

For the amount of money we are paying for this degree, we should be rinsing everything the uni could possibly give us. Don’t hesitate to contact uni staff, they are literally there for us! Utilise their contact hours, even if you don’t feel like you have an urgent question, a chat with your tutor may really help with your assignments and reduce stress levels.

5. Drinks and snacks

This may be the most important tip to survive a long study day: the snacks. Not only keeping you awake when you’ve been working for so long that words start to merge together, rewarding yourself with a sweet treat is the best motivation. Also, fundamental to a study day is constantly having a beverage to sip. Don’t feel bad about spending money on silly drinks and coffees, justify it by telling yourself the money is going towards investing into your future. Try not to overload on caffeine though, it is a recipe for anxiety.

6. Library crawl

Uni gets super busy around this time of year, as anyone who has attempted to find a seat past 11am in the last week will know. Whilst it’s super tempting when you do find a seat to cling onto it like your life depends on it, sometimes the best way to be productive is to change locations throughout the day. Rather than embarking on an 8-hour day in Wills, a couple of hours in three different places is less daunting and will keep you motivated.

7. Take care of yourself

This time of year can be really stressful, so taking care of your mental health is very important. Make sure you keep talking to your friends and family, it’s easy to isolate yourself when spending days in the library, but you’re not alone.

You can reach out to uni wellbeing services here, open to all students for free.

Bristol Nightline also offers a great service where you can chat to a volunteer over the phone or via the instant messaging service. They are open Monday-Saturday 8pm-8am and on Sundays the instant messaging is open 8pm-12am.

Their number is 01179 266 266 and you can find the messaging service here.

Related articles recommended by this author:

Wednesday Night Fever: Imagining the future of Fishies at different Bristol clubs

The Luke Littler effect has hit Bristol Uni as popularity of darts soars amongst students

Nine of the most humbling experiences a Bristol Uni student could possibly face