Summer term wellbeing as a taught master's student

16 June 2022

As a taught master's student you may be thinking about how to maintain your wellbeing as the regular routine of lectures end and summer draws near. Read on for UCL Student Centre Officer Natasha’s tips.

Person in white blouse with black buttons on the cuff and red trousers, sitting and writing in their planner.

Without the regular routine of teaching and deadlines and the sustained contact with your course mates, the summer term can have an odd air to it if you’re a post-graduate student (e.g., taught Masters). With less instructions and less natural socialisation it can be difficult to maintain your wellbeing when faced with such an extended period of unstructured time. With nothing external keeping you in a regular routine, it can be easy to fall into habits that are detrimental to both your work and your wellbeing. Below are some tips on how to cope.


You’ve almost certainly heard it before but trying to get ahead when starting on your dissertation can make a world of difference when things get closer to the deadline. The sooner you get your core reading out of the way, the sooner you can get down to the trickier task of writing and planning. If your dissertation is in a text heavy subject (such as arts or humanities) - try to do a little reading every day (even if it is just one or two articles)! After a while this begins to add up - and gives you much greater resources to pull from later down the line. Try to also jot down your thoughts as you go - no matter how small or seemingly inconsequential - to avoid dreadful ‘blank page’ syndrome when it comes time to plan. Mind Maps are your friend here!


Writing is hard work, particularly when you are having to do it for extended periods of time. Breaking down the time you have into manageable chunks can help the writing process seem less daunting. See how much time you have and divide it into chunks to tackle each chapter - giving yourself enough time at the end to review, proofread, and edit your work. Try to stop writing for the day when you still have more left to say - leave a couple of bullet points or half-sentences below where you stop so that you can start the next day knowing exactly what you need to write.

Know when to take a break

When faced with a big deadline it’s easy to feel that it’s necessary to devote all your time to getting work done. However, you cannot be 100% productive all the time, and neglecting these feelings of exhaustion or stress are only going to inhibit your ability to work well later down the line. Learn to recognise when you are feeling anxious or overworked - are you struggling to concentrate? Are you panicking? Do you feel physically tired? - and take that as your signal to do something else. These breaks can be short (watch an episode of a TV show that brings you comfort) or long (spend an evening with your friends). The important thing is that you do something that is completely separate from work. If you are struggling to switch off at all, try doing something that is in some way adjacent to your topic of study: read or watch something in your chosen field that you know you will find interesting or engaging, but distinct from what you are working on. That way you are still building your knowledge in your chosen subject, but without actually working.


Try to build in social time with friends or family on a regular basis. Spending time with others can help to put some space between you and your work and is a good reminder that life exists outside of your dissertation! Similarly, if you’re stuck somewhere and struggling with your work, explaining the issue to someone else (whether they are familiar with the concepts or not) can be a useful exercise. Teaching other people can often help to get the cogs turning in your own brain and more often than not you will feel more capable to tackle the problem when you go back to it yourself.

How UCL Student Support and Wellbeing can help

If you need support or just advice, UCL remains open for current students. Make an appointment with one of our caring advisers.

Natascha Fedorson, Student Centre Office