YCA Week Two: Painful Procrastination

Looks like the exam stress might finally be kicking in…

Is it just us, or has something been in the air this week? Maybe it’s the post-C-Sunday-oh-God-exams-are-actually-a-thing blues, or maybe it’s something to do with the stars. Either way, it’s been a weird, but equally wonderful week for our aunts and many of their friends. Amira has taken a little break from this week’s column, so you’re hearing from Leila and Emily this week.

Just yesterday, Leila had her (more than) halfway hall, and it was honestly great. Who’d have thought that a formal in a marquee could be so fun? Yes, it meant that she did very little work over the past few days, but given the lack of formals and reasons to dress up more generally, it was definitely worth it.

Did someone say group gown pic? Photo Credit: Leila Lawrence

Meanwhile, Emily’s been incredibly unproductive work-wise HOWEVER, she has managed to catch up with lots of her friends this week. Her household even threw her and two other flatmates a very belated birthday party because they weren’t here in Lent. It was a good time and they scoffed down multiple Franco Manca pizzas and an entire Wiggles the Caterpillar Cake from Sainsbury’s. Colin has been cancelled… 

Okay, enough pretty photos and anecdotes now, let’s think about those pesky problems of yours. From what we can tell, you’re all a bit stressed about exams and, honestly, the feeling’s mutual.

Q1:How to focus on revising when it feels like we’ve only just got the chance to do things and see people. So on top of the normal procrastination worries now I’m concerned that I should take every chance I can to see my friends. Any advice? / How tf do you have a work/life balance? 

As you can see, we decided to pair these two questions together, because whilst repetition may make for a good revision strategy, it makes for a rather boring column.

 Remember this: everyone is feeling the pressure of exam season right now with the additional stress of the pandemic, so you can always reach out to your friends for help. As you said, because a lot of us were home last term, I think people are taking every opportunity they get to see their friends. This is no bad thing! Seeing friends and staying connected will be the thing to get you through this tricky term. It’s all about your mindset! Try not to view hanging out with people as a replacement to revision. If anything, tell yourself that seeing friends is a productive break – it will help refresh your mind before you get stuck into revision afterwards. You’re better off enjoying a picnic on Jesus Green with your pals than attempting to revise and constantly being distracted by your phone alone in your room! A little bit of time pressure isn’t a bad thing either. If you know that you’re meeting up with people at 6pm, then you can challenge yourself to get work done before then. Having a set deadline (that you don’t want to miss) will work wonders! Cambridge students love deadlines like Toope loves his weekly COVID updates xx

Remember that your friends are there to help you no matter what. So take every chance you can to see them and talk to them about worries you have to do with work and revision! You can share revision tips and tricks with each other too! And if worse comes to worst, and you genuinely cannot find the time to see your friends because of the classic Cambridge workload, then please don’t stress. Your friends will understand if you can’t see them all the time – we’ve all been there! Let them know what’s up and they will understand. They may even bring you sympathy chocolate…

Q2: I can’t stop procrastinating. I have so many deadlines and exams coming up but I just can’t do the work. I think I’ve fallen out of love with my degree because every time I even think about doing work, my brain stops and I can’t think of anything else I’d like to do less

A theme to this week’s article is already emerging! This is something that everyone struggles with no matter how perfect someone’s studygram may suggest. Because of this, everyone has tested out plenty of methods to avoid procrastination – some of which may work for you, some of which may not!

Here are some of my favourites! Before I begin working, I make sure that my set-up has been perfected. I make/find a banging spotify playlist and set up a study area! I can’t work when my desk is messy so I organise my highlighters by colour and make sure my space feels fresh and welcoming. This term I even decided to rearrange my whole room for the perfect study space. I know this is a BIT extreme but my desk is now at the window as I am writing this. The natural light and fresh air from the window has been a game-changer for me – would recommend

It’s the highlighter stand for me. Photo Credit: Emily Cooper

When I finally sit down to work, I set a timer and tell myself not to touch my phone until the alarm goes off. Some people do a similar thing by using the app “Forest” – another good choice! If you complete the time you set yourself without touching your phone, a little tree is planted in your virtual garden. Satisfying and something you can share with friends who also have the app. 

Another good way of avoiding distraction is by having a scrap piece of paper by your side. When your mind starts to wander off mid-way through your revision, write that thought down on the piece of paper and move on. Before using this technique, I would always find myself carrying out the random tasks I thought of halfway through my revision slot because I was scared I would forget them later on. Now, I can save the tasks for later and if I’m feeling extra productive will do them during my study break. Plus, you never know when genius will strike! Maybe something I note down during my next revision session will be the plot of my future best-selling book or an innovative business idea. A girl can dream. 

A look into the mind of a genius. Photo credit: Emily Cooper

Basically, there are plenty of things you can try! Chat to friends for advice, look online or even ask your DoS!

Q3: The guy I’m seeing isn’t over his ex. What do I do?

Oh, honey. There’s only one thing you can do: stop talking to him. You should not have to compete with anyone else to get the love and affection that you deserve. It’s honestly as simple as that. You are setting yourself up for hurt and failure. You deserve so much better.

It might also be worth taking some time out to journal or chat to a friend and try and get to the bottom of why you are seeking out affection from someone who clearly cannot give it to you. In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, when they say that we accept the love we think we deserve, they had a point. The love you receive from an emotionally unavailable person is neither full, nor whole. I’ll say it again: you deserve better.

Q4: I think I might be gay what do I do??

Firstly, CONGRATULATIONS!! It’s great that you are brave enough to question this part of yourself! Talk to your LGBTQ+ friends! They will be able to tell you how they figured out their sexualities and maybe give you some insight! If you don’t have queer friends then make some! Your life will become SO much better. 

Sexuality is a very fluid concept and it’s fine to be figuring things out at any age! It’s also okay not to be out to people, especially to your family members. If you have to let the concept of your sexuality sit with you for a bit so you can get your head around it then do that! Or, if you think that some (COVID safe) experimentation would help you figure things out then go for that too! As long as you are safe and happy, there is honestly no right or wrong thing to do. You should do whatever you feel is best for you, and seek out any support if necessary. Whether that’s a friend or your JCR LGBTQ+ Officer, there is someone out there who will be able to listen and help you out. Sending you love and support on your journey!

Well, that’s all from us this week…

We have an exciting Freshers Special podcast episode, specially designed to help ease the stress of being an incoming offer holder. If you’re an incoming Fresher, we know you’ve got a million-and-one questions to ask and worries to share, so off you pop to our submissions form to share them.

We’ve decided to stop theming our weekly columns, so feel free to submit (almost) anything you’re worried about here. What’s that? Relationship problems? Again? Alright then, into the submissions box that goes.

If you haven’t listened to earlier episodes of the podcast, what are you doing? Seriously, it’s a remote term; what else are you doing with your time? And while you’re at it, you may as well give us a follow on Instagram (@yourcollegeaunts).


Your College Aunts x

Have any worries?

Here is the link for next week, submit questions to your heart’s content.

Want to be our next guest?

Did you ever find yourself listening to the podcast last term thinking that you could’ve added something interesting to the discussion? Well, here’s your chance to be a guest on the podcast! All you need to do is fill out this form proposing a theme for an episode and tell us why you think you would be a great guest. Go on, apply! What have you got to lose?

Featured image credit: Leila Lawrence and Amira Nandhla