Student life can be a busy one and it takes time to adjust to. Mahpara Jahan, our Singaporean Student Ambassador, is no stranger to a hectic lifestyle but she has taken early mornings and late nights in her stride!

The fact that classes at University start at 9 am is perhaps one of the biggest reliefs students have without even knowing it. To cast my mind back to high school, when we would have to come to campus by 8 am and finish classes by 3 pm, it seems almost impossible now. How did I ever manage back then?

My first-year medical school schedule was hectic and wonderful. We often look back on the past with rose-tinted glasses but I have to say, my first year was a joyful and busy time coloured with coffee breaks, hours in the library, getting to know fellow students and knowing that it truly couldn’t get harder than this. Funnily enough, it has gotten harder but, admittedly, more enjoyable.

Sleepy mornings (photo: Mahpara)

A busy schedule 

In first year, I would often have my lectures in the morning. Mondays started at 9 am, and my friend and I would often walk into campus together. Each lecture, for classes such as Anatomy and Physiology in semester one, would last for 50 minutes and each day varied in its number of lectures. More often than not, we would finish with them by 12pm and then it would be time for lunch. A short lunch break later, and it was time for some of us to head to our weekly Anatomy labs, which were scheduled from 2 pm to 5 pm. I would have my

Anatomy labs on Wednesday, so my Mondays ended after lectures, but grabbing food or coffee with my friends anytime I could in the rare pockets of time we had free was something I made sure to do. If my day was short, I found myself stopping at the Aldi near my home for a weekly shop. Once reaching home, I would take a short break. In this time, I found it most comforting to meditate or read, or to call my family, but of course, the leisure of scrolling through Netflix is its own form of relaxation. 

Around 3 pm, I would begin studying at home. This included reviewing the lectures we had earlier in the day, and preparing for the week ahead. Sometimes I would join my housemates for tea and study in the dining area and sometimes I found it best to sit in the white noise of my own bedroom. I found it very useful to meal prep for the week ahead. Monday night would be a time I would spare in my week to get the cooking finished and then try to squeeze in some study after eating.

Walks along the river bank (photo: Mahpara)

The days with labs offered less free time and I found returning home on those days to be particularly tiring. It felt most rejuvenating to allow myself time to relax, eat and socialise before returning to the books.

Practise makes perfect

There is no one particular way to go about your day when you’re in university and especially not when you’re an independent adult with full access and control over your time. To prioritise your learning, your friends and yourself takes practise and dedication and sometimes I would find myself faltering. It is in those times I found it most useful to reach out to those in a similar situation to me— international students feeling homesick, seniors who offer encouragement and my friends in different universities, all with a shared objective of completing our education, and enjoying it, too.

Mahpara is studying Medicine at the National University of Ireland Galway.