A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Welcome home! (And welcome back to your studies)

January always feels strange to me, trying to get back into the routine of studying and catch up on emails and organisation post-break. Below are some quick-start tips to help you rediscover your routine, as well as some general reflections on the New Year.

List it!

Writing down key tasks can be a useful thing to do when you arrive back or resume study time, making sure you can catch up on any emails and you don’t miss any meetings or deadlines. This can also be a good time to arrange any meetings (especially those related to your thesis) that are needed.

laptop calendar and books

Plan out your day/week/month to make sure no deadlines slip through the gaps, and that you also have time to catch up with friends, grab a glühwein, and enjoy the winter produce from the market (Every Wednesday and Saturday on Nieuwe Rijn).

Spring clean

It may not feel like spring yet, but it’s coming. Tidying your study space or bedroom (or even your computer filing system) can be an excellent way to get back into the headspace of studying, as well as help create an environment where you want to work. Try not to spend money on useless or gimmicky desk ornaments unless you’re sure they’ll be helpful. Check pinterest for guides on how to make your own.

batch books document education

Sort out your massive binder of “mystery” paperwork.

Healthy routines

This year I took Christmas off, doing no work between the 20th December and 3rd January, allowing myself time to recover physically and mentally, and enjoy time with loved ones. Now that I’m back however I’m working to get back into a “healthy” routine of sleep and work. This will differ for everyone, base it on when you feel most productive and try consider the daylight hours for getting outside a little- don’t underestimate the time you need to eat, relax and do things you enjoy each day.

Goals and Resolutions

I can’t really recommend a New Year’s resolution, based on my consistent failure to complete them, but the new year can provide a useful stimuli to look at your lifestyle and goals and decide if you’re happy with them. Aim for small, achievable changes or reflections on habits you’d like to change. Longer term goals can add a “narrative” to your year, as well as give you some ideas and opportunity to think about the future. Don’t get overwhelmed with it though, focus on setting out achievable goals.


Use SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based.

Getting back into your studies in January can be difficult, both because of the holidays, but also because of the slightly gloomy weather. Hopefully these ideas will give you a little bit of a nudge back into your studies, and will set you up for the next semester.

One comment on “Welcome home! (And welcome back to your studies)

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    January 10, 2019

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