With deadline season upon us, here are 25 weird things students are doing to stay sane

Each to their own I guess?

Deadlines drive us all a little crazy in the best of circumstances. This year, after over 12 months of remote learning, a righteous rollercoaster of weather patterns, and the imminent promise of release from lockdown, deadline season is hitting a little different – a little harder.

Staying sane throughout exam or deadline season in 2021 requires more than a university-prescribed daily walk, even if it’s in a very “vibey” location, and it might even take more than the intensive retail therapy of Lockdown One.

We asked London students what was keeping them on the saner side of sleep-deprived-essay-zombie, and their answers are as eclectic as they are amusing.

Here are 25 of the weirdest things people told us they were up to:

1. Learning to cross stitch

Seems rogue, but the results are undeniably adorable and this skill will be a poignant reminder during “hot girl summer” that grandma-life wasn’t so bad after all. Knitting, another popular variant of the same energy, is sure to achieve the same effect.

The power that this has, incredible

2. Intense solo dance seshes

Or as one student termed it: “lotsa boogies” – a rose by any other name, as a certain playwright might say. Either way, putting on your dancing shoes is a guaranteed way to shake off those essay blues and give you a much-needed boost of serotonin.

3. “Spray-painting plants gold”

What does it mean? Supposedly, exactly what it says on the tin – I’m as confused as you are. If you’re one for major “Greek mythology school play” vibes then you might be able to understand this angle a bit better I guess.

4. Making fresh pasta

One student took their creative genius to the next level with these insanely good-looking homemade pasta dishes. Are we in Tuscany or London, who knows? You could definitely pretend to be off in the mountains somewhere with these beauties.

Honestly just take me to Rome

5. Playing catch

One student told us they’ve started playing catch in the park with their friends, like big kids. “If you haven’t tried it in a few years, give it a go, it’s a guaranteed serotonin boost,” they told us.

6. Extreme holiday planning

One student told us their trick to staying sane in the last few weeks has been making detailed plans for “every single trip I want to take for the next five years”. This one takes a degree of organisation that some of us simply don’t have, but for all you dreamers and planners alike out there, respect.

7. Randomly booking trips to nowhere in particular

This is the chaotic cousin of the five year trip planner; some students told us they are randomly planning to get on a train and really just see where it takes them to get away, and to be honest that is so fair enough. Get me the fuck out of this madness.

8. Dyeing their hair

Whether it’s your own or a friend’s, dyeing someone’s hair is not only a fun activity but carries with it a spicy sense of risk which, when rewarded with amazing results, will ensure lots of happy hormones.

Trying to hide the terror in her eyes

One student accidentally went one shade too far though, and can safely say that she will not be trying any new DIY hair colours as she is now “twinning with Peppa Pig”.

Peppa is an icon and now so is this woman

9. Buying art

A pretty work space is a sure way to make it a more productive workspace, and definitely doesn’t just constitute a classier form of impulse-buying.

10. Buying blue light glasses

Another way to ease the pain of studying, blue light glasses are supposed to block the light from screens that hurts your eyes and honestly, maybe we should all invest?

Between online lectures, social media and guilty late-night trips down Tik Tok lane, I don’t think anyone can remember a day where they weren’t looking at a screen for nine hours.

11. Starting an online shop

On the other side of the commercial spectrum, one student told us how they’ve entered the entrepreneurial game selling ties on Ebay. Online shops were big on Depop and Etsy in Lockdown One, and clearly they’re still pulling their weight to this day.

12. “Spending money”

Same. Especially with the sun emerging from its hibernation, many of us are all set to sell our souls to Pret in exchange for endless smoothies and ice coffees, and feel no remorse in getting through three bottles of wine and a litre of vodka within half a week with our flatmates.

13. Roller skating

Once mastered, this is undeniably one of the coolest hobbies to have taken up during lockdown. The beginner stages can be amusing to say the least though, but if you survive through the scrapes and embarrassments you are, quite literally, on a roll.

Bought for the aesthetic and the aesthetic only

14. Sleeping

Simple, classic, but all in all a very dependable solution for keeping sane during stressful times. If you’re lucky, you might even sleep through all the worst parts of this year.

15. “Revenge bedtime procrastinating”

This feels like the evil twin of sleep but, if it works for you, keep at it.

16. Aimlessly scrolling through insta

Not that weird to be honest, but intensely relatable content. If I was given 50p every time I found myself on a rando’s page, three hours deep into the insta rabbit hole, I would be a very rich woman by now.

17. Aimlessly scrolling through Tik Tok

Ditto. Copy and paste.

18. Collecting street furniture

Are you even a uni student if your flat isn’t adorned with cones, armchairs and random furniture you’ve saved from the street? Innovative, cheap and oh so “quirky”, this leisure pastime is a classic for bored students.

It’s like winning the lottery

19. Reconfiguring the living space every week so it feels like a new home

On a similar note, keeping your study space fresh is very important, and some students are taking this to the extreme by rearranging their home regularly so the energy doesn’t “stagnate”. I’m not quite sure exactly what this means, but for some reason I agree with it completely.

20. Doing drugs

This one speaks for itself. Stay safe out there, kids.

21. Making memes

If you need something to make you smile, it certainly saves time if you can make your own sources of amusement. The only advantage of our universities being laughing stocks in the current climate is that we can produce incredible content from our suffering.

22. Sunbathing

It’s a common habit of every Brit, and student who studies in England for long enough, that every time the temperature exceeds 10 degrees you have to hardcore-sunbathe for at least three hours, because those are the rules.

It could be below freezing and we would still do this

23. Going on walks with the express intent of being able to pet dogs

At this point we all know what the views from Parliament and Primrose Hills look like, they’re pretty immutable facts of London life. However, what is also a guarantee if you venture outside nowadays is a wealth of doggos on walks and, with lockdown gradually easing too, you can now feel less hesitant to say hello.

24. Cleaning

Apparently for some people cleaning is relaxing? In fact many people told us that de-cluttering their space and regular cleaning has helped them stay happy during this stressful time.

Whether it’s a deep clean that your oven has never been blessed with before or a quick sweep of the gathering dust under the sofa, I can really see the benefits in this one. Not that I’d actively partake, of course.

25. Taking “mental health breaks” with a weekend at home

This one too falls under the “less weird, more sensible” category. But well done these people for taking good care of themselves, and understanding that yes, we are in a pandemic, but looking after your mental health is at utmost importance too. Sometimes we all just need a break from it all.

The finish line is so close, literally within reaching distance, and as we charge at it in slow motion I promise you things will get easier. We’ve obviously done some very bizarre things to get through lockdown and deadline season, but we’re all still here surviving, if not thriving, and that is enough, so congrats.

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