Mid year – getting over the hump

when the going gets tough

the tough get going


An old expression – and a dreadful Billy Ocean song from 1986. But neatly encapsulates the advice from this blog. As you reach the middle of the academic year, you will have got into a routine and probably found some challenges. And the weather is rather grim (at least it is here in Coventry!) and maybe you are uncomfortably aware of a backlog – assignments, reading, catching up on missed lectures…. The end of the year can seem a long way off and finishing your degree impossibly distant.

So I have a story from the world of athletics for you:

One day while training for the Rio Olympics, the athlete and film-maker Alexi Pappas became frustrated, felt lost and was becoming frightened that she wasn’t going to make the olympic team. She didn’t seem to be able to hit her training targets and pace on the track was sluggish (by her standards) in spite of her best efforts. Her coach, Ian Dobson, also an Olympian, explained that her workout was not a problem because it was aligned with the Rule of Thirds. He said, when you are dreaming and chasing for a big goal –
You would feel good a third of the time
OK a third of the time and
Crummy (unpleasant) a third of the time.


I hope maybe you can have less than the third of the time feeling bad, but something like this distribution seems about right to me.


So here is my advice:

Be aware that the tough times are an inevitable part of the process. Also be aware if the ration between good-OK-crummy has at least some balance.


And then


stick at it

keep going

I’m afraid that’s all there is to it. So much about studying is sheer determination. You will find days when nothing seems to make sense. When your assignment seems bewildering, the readings long and indecipherable. Don’t worry because we all been there. And if you think it’s all very easy, you are probably missing something. Because the truth is that education is hard – at least when it’s done right it is. So if you are finding it difficult, that is probably a good sign. When you were accepted on to your programme, your tutors believed you were capable of passing. And they are experienced – and cynically I can also say they are accountable for students passing. So you will be able to do it. It’s just a matter of not giving up.

And keep going!

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