Tim’s Top Tips for University
Nobody asked me to do this but I got the idea from the description on @emmastudies blog (go check it out, it’s great!) and thought other people may be interested as well.
1. Read your course profiles. I know they look bland and boring, and that a lot of people say this, but that’s because they are the key to success. What don’t they contain? (well maybe the answers to your exam but alas). Nonetheless, spend the time to read through them for all of your subjects and take down the due dates of your assessment, as well as their weightings (personally I do this in my diary as well as on my whiteboard). I find including the weightings extremely helpful when it comes to prioritising time spent on assessment pieces when you have multiple due at once (which is bound to happen).
2. Study by yourself. I’m not saying don’t make friends within your classes and degree program nor am I saying that you should never study in groups. A combination of the two will do you a world of good. As fun as it may be to have a laugh (and a mental breakdown or three) with close friends over calculus (or whatever it may be) there will inevitably be people who take your group off on tangents. When it comes to the crunch time that will be a waste of your valuable time. Also, as selfish as it may seem, these are the people you will be competing with for jobs so you want to put yourself in the best position that you can.
3. Personalise your study space. If you’re living in a rental property like myself then you are slightly limited in this regard. However it doesn’t mean you can’t spruce your desk up a bit! A bit of colour will do a world of good for you subconsciously. Try to have some natural light to if you can but if not a lamp will do a great job!
4. Have some nice stationary (or anything else that will bring joy to your studying). Personally I love a good set of stationary that allows me to personalise my notes. I find that it fills me with extreme optimism regarding how nice I can make my notes look (even though it tends not to prevail).
5. Make your notes ordered. It doesn’t matter how you do this but it will certaintly make your life easier when it comes time to revise. Personally I colour code my notes, making different levels different colours. E.g.
- Black etc.
6. Get yourself into a routine. I know this can be difficult enough without also taking into account family commitments, work and extra-curricular commitments you may also have. I’ve found this semester that spending more time on campus and doing study is helpful. If you can manage to do 8-5, Monday to Friday, each day spending your time in the library when you don’t have classes that’s great!! This will also minimise the amount of time you have to spend studying on the weekend. However I understand this is not completely practical and the following is a rough idea of how my weeks go:
Uni: 9am-6pm (Lecture 4pm-6pm)
Uni: 12pm-6pm (All lectures)
Uni: 8am - 3pm (Tutorials/Lab Session - excl. lunch break 12pm-1pm)
Work: 7pm - 11pm
Uni: 10am - 3pm (Lab Session 1pm-3pm)
Work: 4pm - 7pm
Uni: 12pm - 5pm (infrequent classes)
Work: 6pm - 11pm
I’ll also study a bit over the weekend but I don’t timetable it as such to give myself a little bit of flexibility. Regardless of how you do this, don’t forget to have breaks!!
7. Take notes from your readings. Inevitably your classes will set readings for them, be it from a prescribed textbook or not. When you do your readings take notes in your own language, that way you are more likely to understand and remember what you have read.
8. Join clubs. If there are student societies that represent your degree I strongly encourage you to join them (there may be a small fee associated) and get involved with the events they run. Most societies run both social and educational activities. The social activities will give you the opportunity to meet students in other years of your degree (they are a wealth of knowledge), whilst the educational activities will give you the opportunity to network with professionals in your chosen field.
9. Talk to your lecturers. Trust me, they don’t bite. They’re also not there to fail you, they really want you to do well. But this isn’t highschool anymore so you’ll have to go on the front foot and ask for help if you are having any difficulties. However I assure you that this isn’t as daunting as it sounds and they’ll be more than happy to help you.
10. Have fun! Ironic isn’t it? After everything I’ve just said I’m telling you to have fun. I know that it may sound absurd but although it may be stressful you will find ways to have fun. Surround yourself with likeminded people and hopefully these tips will help you to create a functioning study/life balance.
P.S. I’m sorry this ended up so long but I got a bit carried away. If you’ve read this far you are an absolute champion! :) I hope this helps you in some way and if you have any questions or would like me to do anything else like this feel free to message me or ask!