Building healthy study habits: Rafee'a Siddique

GCU student Rafee’a discusses her journey toward finding a healthier way to balance study and personal time. 

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“Finding a healthy balance between studying and your personal down time is not always easy, and it’s something I’ve struggled with during my time at university. I used to feel as though every second not spent in a lecture had to be spent writing up notes, revising, and generally just living and breathing optometry. It wasn’t the healthiest approach to university, but it was all I knew at the beginning. My social life and mental health took a big hit, and I ended up sat alone in my room wondering if I should just drop out.
“Spoiler alert, I did not! 

“Although it wasn’t easy. I had my work cut out for me trying to break bad habits, build confidence, and allow myself time to unwind and relax. Of the few tricks that I tried, lists worked the best for me. Writing down what I wanted to achieve in the day and crossing tasks off as I go really helped me to keep motivated and positive. Even if I had a few left uncrossed, I still felt accomplished seeing all the things I did manage to get through. 

“Managing your time is probably the most important and hardest thing to do. I am just as guilty as others of binge studying non-stop for hours, without proper breaks, and completely burning out. Not only did I have countless aches and pains, but I was also drained mentally, always worrying about all that I had left to do. If I could go back and give myself advice, it would be to give myself time. Taking regular 10 or 15 minute breaks to re-energise yourself, whether you listen to music, a podcast or have a chat with friends or family, can go a long way toward keeping your mind at ease and in the present.

“Don’t underrate the power of conversation! I can say from experience that when content doesn’t click straight away, or if you feel overwhelmed by your workload, it can leave you feeling scared and defeated. Talking with classmates or supervisors can really help ease those worries and build confidence as you realise that, by discussing work with others, you know more than you think.

“I think celebrating the little wins and allowing yourself proper care and rest can make a huge difference for your mental health. As I work towards my final year and pre-reg, I hope to build more healthy study habits, and encourage others to do the same, because you are just as important as the things you study!”

Rafee'a Siddique
GCU student rep 2021

Favourite Equipment: Non-Contact Tonometer/ Goldmann Applanation Tonometer
Favourite Book: Kanski's Clinical Ophthalmology
Favourite Topic Area: Ocular pathology
Favourite College Resource: Clinical Management Guidelines
What inspired you to become an optometrist? Optometry is a very interactive and community-driven profession. This really drew me in as I love meeting and interacting with new people. I am also very curious and optometry is a field of work with so much to be explored and discovered.