Christmas has been and gone in a flurry of family days and drunken nights, and it’s now that dreaded time: exam season. Even reading the words is enough to make any student cower in fear, but finding the perfect place to escape the stress, as well as the most relaxing activities to do in your down time, is exactly what every student needs. Below are some of my favorite spots to revise and take photos, along with some methods to help take your mind off the forthcoming exams.
The perfect place to study with some perfect views
The first thing I would recommend for any student who likes to take photos is finding the perfect coffee shop. I only have one requirement: a table big enough for my books and to be able to spread out. For my first couple of semesters, it was Brynmill Coffee House. I liked it because it’s close to Singleton Park and the Botanical Gardens, both of which are fantastic spots to bring your camera along to. However, this year I settled on Starbucks in the Callaghan building, because being a few steps away from the library is always a bonus.
If you ever find yourself needing a five minute break away from the University itself, take your phone or camera and walk along the beach, there’s always something interesting to capture. Alternatively, if you don’t mind a bit of a walk to find the perfect location for studying, then I would suggest taking a trip to the Mumbles. There are many interesting coffee shops between campus and Mumbles pier – some with beautiful interiors to take photos of in five minute breaks, others offering a different view of Swansea Bay. If you make it all the way to Joe’s or Verdi’s then reward yourself with an ice cream and take some photos of the bay. Even better, choosing to revise in either of these places means that you can also keep rewarding yourself with ice cream too! I usually always take my camera along the walk and snap a couple of photos along the way, but at some point you have to remind yourself to squeeze in some hard work. Although, as long as you manage your time well, going out and taking a couple of photos isn’t going to hurt.
Take a breather, everyone needs a break
So, you have found the perfect spot, with some beautiful views for your mini revision breaks. But if five minutes every couple of hours isn’t enough, find some activities that will occupy you for a longer amount of time during the week. Everyone needs more than a few minutes to relax!
One great way to de-stress is exercise. There are many ways to incorporate working out into your revision schedule, even if it’s getting a group of your mates together and going for a run along the seafront. When I run, I stop to capture anything I find along the way. However, in this cold weather, I would also suggest going to the gym. Stretch the muscles, listen to music that will get your heart pumping, and then you’ll feel motivated to go to your favourite revision spot and get some work done. Some gyms are even open 24 hours, which is perfect for anyone regardless of their schedule. If you haven’t got a gym membership, you can either pay for a workout class or during exam time the University offers sessions, such as yoga, as part of their StudyAid programme.
StudyAid provides anything from hand massages, to free tea or coffee in the library, to – and this is my favourite way to take a breather: puppy cuddles. Yes, you did indeed read this correctly, the Students’ Union offers a couple of days every exam period where students can have the chance to relax through hanging out with some four-legged friends. However, sign up early because it’s first come first served and the places fill up quickly. Keep an eye out for those emails!
Be sure to take in the view!
If any of you and your friends are avid photographers, like me, I would suggest forming a group and going on day trips just to take photos. For example, last year I used to go every other Thursday morning in a group of six to explore our surroundings. We would go to a new location every week and just see what we could discover – you’d be surprised by what there is to see in Swansea. We continued this through various exam and coursework periods, and those three hours on a Thursday morning gave us the time off we desperately needed.
So go out, take some photos and give yourself a well-deserved study break. And, most importantly, good luck!
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by Charlotte Husbands