New year, new you? How to re-organise your life in Edinburgh

The motivation you need to kick start the new semester


I don’t know about you but for me, January is always a trial month and the new year only truly begins in February. It’s cold and dark and many of us are struggling to even get out of bed in the mornings, let alone successfully balance academia, self-care and having a social life.

The start of a new semester is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the previous one and assess what worked and what didn’t, both academically and personally. So, here’s a list of the best low-effort techniques to motivate you to sort out your life and finish the academic year with a bang.

If you, too, struggled to get your life together last month, here are some top tips on how to organise your student life:

Establish a consistent notes system

Whether you’re into Notion, Google docs, or even good old fashioned pen and paper, having a consistently established note-taking system from the start of the semester will save your life later down the line. Reflect on how helpful your notes from last semester were and change or adapt your system based on that.

Perhaps you found yourself struggling to locate random pieces of paper at the bottom of your bag or under piles of books, in which case maybe it’s time to switch to an online system. Or maybe you find yourself prone to simply hitting copy and paste off the powerpoint in your lecture and have realised that perhaps it’s time to switch off.

Decide which balls/ events to attend in advance

If, like me, you feel overwhelmed with the number of balls and society events going on and struggle to know which to prioritise then it might be worth working out at the start of the year how much money you can actually afford to spend on events and whether you’ll actually have enough free time to go.

Ask around about what the best events are and pre plan which ones you’ll go to so you can organise your outfits and after party plans well ahead of time. This is particularly important for the extra fancy, dinner-included events like the Sports ball.

Declutter your room

A clean space is a clean mind, as they say. Do as I say and not as I do since I’m notoriously bad at keeping my room tidy. However, one thing I have found helpful is finding a way of incorporating regular cleaning into your daily routine by sandwiching it into the things you already do. For example, I will always make myself have a quick three minute tidy whilst I wait for my skin care products to soak in in the evenings.

Get that gym membership early

Pre-buying a membership for the year at Pleasance Gym can seem like a huge dent in the wallet. However, the memory of that giant purchase can help you stay motivated to keep going further down the line.

Plus, buying the year memberships ends up working out significantly cheaper than other gyms. If the thought of bumping into your first year flatmates or ex situationships is too much to bear, look into other local gyms in your area or even preplan weekly runs with your friends to hold you accountable.

Start planning your summer now

This is your reminder to book those flights for your summer girls’ trip now before prices sky rocket! The sure fire way to make sure your holiday makes it out of the group chat is to get it sorted before the stress deadlines takes over everyone’s minds and lives. Plus, there’s nothing to motivate you through exams like knowing you have a trip fully booked waiting for you at the other end of the tunnel. If trips abroad aren’t your vibe, there are loads of beautiful places in Scotland to plan a summer trip to.

Read for fun

This one’s particularly difficult for those of us who have had reading completely ruined by our degrees (English Literature) but there’s nothing more rewarding than finishing a book you read purely for enjoyment. Try switching your phone for a short chapter in the mornings or get Goodreads to keep you motivated. Remember not to feel pressured to read so-called “high brow” books if that’t not what you’re interested in, read whatever makes you happy!

Establish your hobbies

Rather than half heartedly committing yourself to a dozen societies and random hobbies you heard about on TikTok this year, I challenge you to pick a couple and do your best to stick with them. Maybe find a hobby you can do with a friend to hold each other accountable or set yourself mini tasks or challenges relating to it – there’s no greater feeling than having something you’ve visibly improved upon over the year.

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