Being a uni student myself I know how hard uni can seem at times. When you first start everything seems calm, you are just being eased into all the modules but then, days or a few weeks later… reality hits and suddenly you have a mountain of work to do. No mum or dad around to nag you to do the work and then procrastination kicks in.
From a student who has done 3 years and is back for 1 last year (postgrad) here are some things that I learnt that are good tips for those who are just starting or for those looking to sort it all out…
- Use highlights– Not just to highlight what look important for assignments or research but use them to colour code, for example; Yellow– Important facts, points or examples, orange for definitions, Pink for quotations, green for name and authors and blue for dates. This can help you organise your work better and make it easier for that dreaded referencing.
- Prioritise– When the work builds up and it gets too much, Stop, Write out a to do list, by the side of each one, write when its due then prioritise by numbers.
- Reading lists– Don’t ignore them! Yes, there are a lot of books but the library has many of them and if you need to buy them, get second hand or a lower down edition, its saves you money. Actually read the books as well, you will be surprised how useful they are.
- Study time– Make room for it! Schedule time for study, lectures, social life and any part time work. Study time is super important yes but do not burn yourself out, especially the night before a big assessment. I set myself a cut off time at night for when I stop doing my work and relax to get a good night’s sleep.
- BUDGET- One of the most difficult things I have trouble with. It is hard but it must be done because your student loans will not go far as you think it may. When you get that loan through, sit down and write a budget, rent, then a set food allowance, weekly travel costs and any other expenses.
- BACK IT UP- You will be nagged and told time after time about this. Do not ignore it. Backup all your work. I was stupid enough in my first year to not do this, my laptop went down and it took me weeks to get my work back. Back it up on USB, disk, onedrive, dropbox, anything! Back all your work up.
- ‘I need help‘ – Don’t be afraid to say these words, don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is no shame in asking for help. I read a quote not long ago and now it sticks in my mind when I think I need help… ‘If you don’t ask, the answer is always no’.
- Learn to cook- You will be reading this and saying ‘Naaa I don’t need to do that!’ Trust me you cannot live your uni life off beans on toast. Even if you just learn a couple more basics recipes like pasta bake, spag bol, scrambled egg or omelette, it’s better than beans on toast everyday.
- Get organised- This ties in with points 1, 2 and 4. Now you have prioritized, colour coded your work and made room for study time, Organise your work properly. Write dates on all notes, separate them into files, in those files have dividers for notes/assignment drafts/ Research..etc. Get an academic diary and note down any important dates, times and days of lectures, days homework is due and assignment due dates.
- Finally... Do not and I repeat do not, leave work till the last minute. Not a smart move, it stresses you out, you rush and babble when you could have done more and achieved high grades. Also as a Trainee teacher I speak for all teachers when I say we can tell who’s work has been done the night before, you think we can’t but we can.
I hope this helps you all! Best of luck with your studies, please keep an eye out for future blogs for more student tips and ideas!