What else can we do apart from studying?

Don’t worry, this blog post doesn’t mean to discourage you from studying! In fact, it is an integral part of your learning process. I’ve seen students spending hours in the library every day. Yet, we shouldn’t let it dominate our lives. So, what other things can we do when we are giving ourselves a break from the pile of readings?

Participating in experiments

As you may notice, there are some posters in the common room recruiting participants to take part in research experiments. Sometimes, you may also receive those emails from other students. This is a great chance of learning as you will be going through different steps of the experiment. In the session, you will get to know more about the flow of an experiment (briefing, trials, test phase, main phase, debriefing, etc.). You may also get to talk to the experimenters to learn more about the study that they are doing and the field that they are working on. This may give you insights into your dissertation or projects in the future. These are usually paid, so you’re killing two birds with one stone!


Many people view volunteering as a way to boost your CV. But it’s definitely more than that! It is a way of giving back to the community and sharpening your skills. The Volunteering Service offers an array of volunteering opportunities for students to make their lives more fruitful and meaningful. You may also want to volunteer at non-profit organisations or even the NHS! Don’t want your volunteering experience to go unrecognised? Join the Edinburgh Award for Volunteering to make sure that it is registered on your Higher Education Achievement Record (HEAR) transcript!

Joining talk series and reading groups

The PPLS community is keen on organising regular meetings to discuss research, books and papers. This is a precious opportunity to familiarise yourself with presentations and discussions in an academic setting if you are interested in pursuing a career in academia. Even if you aren’t, you will still benefit from the thought-provoking ideas that are raised in the meetings and seminars! Events for the coming year can be found here: Linguistics and English Language, Philosophy and Psychology.

Learn a new language (or pick up the rusty one if you have learnt it before)

Learning a new language is never easy, no matter how similar the new language to your native language is. It requires a lot of dedication and practice. Given that the community at the university is so diverse, I have been meeting many people from different backgrounds. We have different mother tongues, but it doesn’t impede us from becoming friends. Instead of being a barrier, language is indeed a conversation starter: he is learning her Korean phrases, I am googling your Spanish slangs, she is jotting down my Cantonese expressions. Even for the same language, there are different regional varieties that make the language interesting and sometimes mind-boggling. Tandem Language Programme organised by the EUSA is a nice platform to meet new people and improve your language skills. Join their Tandem Facebook Group and stay tuned!

This is far from an exhaustive list of things that you can do, but try these out first and I hope you find them rewarding!