Five ways to shift your Week Five/Six Blues
For when you just need a break from it all
We’ve been here before. Everything is running smoothly, you’re just about on top of work and you’re beginning to think this might be a lovely, problem-free term. And then, bam, out of nowhere, week five hits, and you begin to feel less academic weapon and more… academic wet paper towel. Here are a few things I like to do when it all gets a bit stressful, especially in weeks five and six.
1. Get out of Cambridge
Cambridge is a bubble. And sometimes that bubble can feel comforting and safe, but sometimes it’s kind of suffocating. We’re surrounded by people who seem to be working nonstop, and panicking when they don’t get a first in an essay. But Cambridge isn’t normal. And it can be really hard to remember this when you’re in the bubble.
I find that as soon as I have a bit of distance from Cambridge, it’s much easier to find some perspective on it all.
There’s nothing like visiting friends at another uni to remind yourself of what you could’ve had! Oh to dream about not having been an overachieving (burnt-out) kid who couldn’t bear the thought of not going to Oxbridge, because of a crippling dependency on academic validation (just me?).
Or you could go home for the weekend, eat everything in your parents’ fridge, get your laundry done and then scamper back off to Cambridge. I’m sure they’d appreciate the visit.
If you don’t quite have time for that, you could always just take a long walk, see some nature and remind yourself that there’s more to life than deadlines.
2. Put yourself first
At the end of the day, your mental health comes first, and the world will keep turning if you have to ask for an extension or hand in one slightly half-arsed essay.
Make sure you tune in to what you need right now – if your social battery is dead, it’s okay to stay home. It’s taken me a while to realise this, but your friends won’t forget about you if you opt out every now and then! Or if you’ve spent so long sitting in the library that your legs have gone numb, sign up for a yoga class. Or if your Valentine’s Day was mildly disappointing (same babes), you could always do a Miley Cyrus and buy yourself flowers.
3. Talk to someone
Although it can be good to get a bit of distance from the Cambridge bubble, nobody quite understands the week five struggle like other Cambridge students. Cambridge can get really lonely when the workload is getting too much, but remember that your friends are probably going through the same thing. They’ll also really appreciate you checking up on them! A problem shared is a problem halved, and a movie night, a cheeky trip to Jack’s Gelato, or an evening debrief over a cup of tea after a hard day can make all the difference.
4. Listen to music
On the other hand, sometimes, you’re just not in the mood to talk about your feelings. Instead, you could stick your headphones on, go for a walk and let someone else do the talking. Whether you need to let your anger out with some angsty Olivia Rodrigo, have a cathartic cry to Celine Dion’s All By Myself, or cheer yourself up with some ABBA, there truly is a song for every occasion. If you’re wondering how my week five’s going, I ended up sitting in St Bene’t’s Church and listening to the entirety of Alanis Morisette’s Jagged Little Pill album. Lucy Dacus’ Night Shifts has also been on repeat. But I’m fine. I promise.
5. College Bingo
Bit of a rogue one, but sometimes you need to do something fun to take your mind off things, and recently my favourite nighttime activity has been visiting other colleges. Being a tourist at your own uni never gets old and always reminds me that we’re lucky to be here (despite the crippling stress and the occasional temptation to intermit).
It’s also a surprisingly sociable activity; what better way to make a new friend than brainstorming ways to escape a college that neither of you goes to? There are 31 to tick off, which should keep you going for a while (and if you’ve completed that, there are always the 44 Oxford colleges). It’s surprising how much can be achieved by confidently walking through plodge without looking back. Just maybe don’t wear your college puffer.
Featured image credits: Grace Coton
If you or someone you know is in need of help, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, Calm (Campaign against living miserably) on 0800 58 58 58, and Student Minds online here. You matter.
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