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5 tips on how to survive the new block

Date:23 November 2022
Hylke working hard to provide you with some useful tips on how to survive the new block!
Hylke working hard to provide you with some useful tips on how to survive the new block!

Now that the first block is over and the second block has started, you probably know what works best for you regarding studying and balancing your life. Whether or not you are on top of your game, here are 5 useful tips that will help you survive the new block!

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#1: Stay on top of your work

You’ve probably heard this tip a thousand times before, but it really is the key to surviving this block successfully! You can get organised by creating folders on your computer for each course you are taking this block. That way your online space is neat and tidy which is great as a clear workspace = a clear mind! Also make sure that you know what is expected of you by reading the syllabuses and noting down all the deadlines in your agenda so you won’t miss anything. That way you know what has to be done each week and you can plan ahead and work on assignments and read your readings in advance.

Another way to stay on top of your work is to study effectively. There are several study methods  that you can try out, such as mind mapping, using flashcards, or the Pomodoro method. This method is designed for you to study effectively. You study in sets of 25 minutes with 5-minute breaks in between and, after four sets, you take a break of 30 minutes. In order to stick to studying this way, there is a useful app you can download - Be Focused Timer - which is one of the 9 must-have apps for the exam period we recommend. Do you struggle with finding a method that works for you? Universities often provide supporting activities. The University of Groningen has workshops on effective studying and efficient reading and more, which have helped many students already. Hopefully, these will help you stay on top of your studies too!

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#2: Manage your stress

As we all know, studying can be stressful. Especially at the end of the block when deadlines are approaching, my stress levels will rise. I try to start working on my assignments early so my stress levels stay low, but I don’t always succeed. To keep the stress at bay, I meditate daily so I can sleep better and I am energised the next morning as there is nothing more frustrating (and stressful) than sleeping badly and not being able to focus on your immense to-do list that day. It’s also very important to take care of yourself when you are stressed. For me this means that I stick to my schedule of working from 9AM until 6PM (with breaks in between) even though I might want to work more to tick off my to-dos. I try to take my evenings off in order to rest which means that I say ‘no’ to things that would have been fun. However, having fun is also great sometimes because you can take your mind off of things. That’s why I try to listen to myself and my body when deciding on how to spend my time off.

If you have trouble managing your stress, you may want to consider getting a bit of support. The UG offers lots of free stress management courses for free about, for example, mindfulness, managing exam stress, creating a sustainable work life balance, embracing imperfection, overcoming fear of failure and more!

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#3: Ask for help

If it all gets too much – your stress levels are high, your mental health has taken a turn for the worse etc. – it’s important that you ask for help. Reach out to friends or family to see how they can help you. Maybe it’s just a conversation that lightens your burden or brainstorming together for an assignment you are stuck on, but it can also be asking them to buy you groceries because you have no energy to do it yourself or asking to eat together because you had a stressful day. If you cannot make your deadlines in time because of your circumstances, it’s handy to email your lecturers. Most of the time, if you explain your situation they are willing to give you an extension. If you are deeply struggling, it’s a good idea to contact your GP to see if you can get help through them or you can contact the UG’s Student Service Centre. Remember: it’s really important that you ask for help if you are struggling because you do not have to struggle on your own.

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#4: Have fun!

In order to have a healthy work life balance, it’s great if you can make time for fun activities at least once a week. Personally, I try to eat together with friends at least once a week or I try to organise fun activities for myself, such as going to the book shop (because that’s my favourite place in the city centre) or treating myself to a nice coffee. Those fun moments really make me enjoy studying more!

Don’t have inspiration for fun activities? No worries, I got you covered! 

  • Forum Groningen always has interesting expositions going on, which are nice to visit. Taking a look at the city from the roof and having a little break at DOK to enjoy a drink might also be an idea.

  • Student associations such as USVA and ESN Groningen organise lots of fun activities. At the USVA, you can pick up new hobbies by starting courses. Moreover, they often organise movie nights, game nights or perform plays. The ESN Groningen - which is a big student association mainly for international students - offers excursions to beautiful places, music nights, pub quizzes, and fun parties for you to attend. 

  • If you want to attend something more low-key you can go to DOT’s movie screenings which are each Wednesday, their planetarium sessions, jam sessions or disco parties. You can often combine these events with a tasty dinner at their restaurant.

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#5: Enjoy this time of the year

Last but not least, enjoy this time of the year! In my opinion, it’s the cosiest, most beautiful time of the year. Although I don’t really like the cold, the lovely fairy lights and the fact that I can curl up in a blanket with a hot chocolate definitely make up for it. It’s the little things that make this time so special!

Hopefully, these tips will help you to survive, but also to enjoy, this new block. Let us know if you have any tips you’d like to add in the comments. Good luck!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


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