University and tertiary studies can be scary for anyone; whether you’re straight out of high school, had a few years in the real world or a mature age student. It can all be overwhelming, scary and stressful however I’ve always believed if you prepare yourself correctly and thoroughly it is quite easy to succeed. By no means am I saying it won’t be challenging and academically demanding and of course this has just been my experience/s. However, I really hope some of my top tips can help the budding student or even parents of university students feel a little more settled and organised throughout their studies.
Before the Academic Year Begins
- Double check you have a set timetable and you’re enrolled in all the correct courses and classes.
- Make yourself a timetable that makes sense to you…so many times University timetables can be confusing and all over the place. Make one on Word, by hand or even on your phone; whether it’s coloured coded or day-by-day whatever will be beneficial for you.
- Use the Online University systems to get AS MUCH information as you can: Course Codes | Course Coordinator/s | Lecture Times and Places | Assessment – type, weighting, word count, form | Lecture & Tutorial Schedules.
- I make my own course ‘manuals’ with all of the above information in them; they become my best friends during the semester! They don't have to be fancy in any form, Padtastic have a massive range of notebooks and notepads that would be perfect for this type of information.
- Have a read of each course outline so you have some idea what you’re learning about before you start.
- If possible, write all your due dates for assignments and assessment pieces in your diary or planner or even a notebook! I have an A5 notepad from Padtastic that I keep purely for university; I jot due dates, notes, required readings and important information on it all the time.
- If you’re as crazy organised and ‘everything has to be pretty’ person like myself there are lots of different ‘University Planners’ you can purchase for very little off of Teachers Pay Teachers. I’m love the one I’m using this semester by Taylormade Teaching Australia.
- Give your family a copy of your timetable so you aren’t that awkward person who has their phone ring in the middle of a lecture, trust me…embarrassing!
During the Academic Year
- Make sure you’re staying up to date with lectures and pre-class readings; I know it’s the last thing you feel like doing on your weekend but spending one hour could change your whole week!
- Don't get behind in your lectures, there is nothing worse than getting to Week 10 and you haven't watched a lecture yet! Who has a spare 10 hours to listen to lectures...not me that's for sure. Whilst you might not be motivated at the time think about it in the long run.
- Find a system that works best for you, whether that is going onto campus for an extra day or half a day to study and get on top of your work. Try even going to a local café or set up a super comfy, but practical space in your home.
- Start your assignments early…I know that’s easier said than done and I’ll easily admit to at least once getting to two days before and absolutely losing my marbles because I hadn’t started yet!
- Ask for help…yes, your tutors and course coordinators can seem scary but if you make the effort I can assure you they will be willing to help!
- Once again, the same as your assignments don’t put studying off! Just do it!
- Even though actual classes have finished, and it seems like it’s time to relax YOU’RE WRONG! Exam period should see you studying more than ever!
- Similarly, find your own way to study. That could be re-reading lecture notes, re-writing them, reading textbooks or watching videos and documentaries.
At the conclusion of an Academic Year
- Check your final grades and please remember it isn’t make or break! As long as you have passed you can stop stressing, whilst perfect grades are every student dreams sometimes they don’t happen.
- Make sure you ask for a copy of your Study Plan from your university for the following year.
- Work out what the requirements are for your next year of study.
- Be searching for the next years courses, subjects and interests. When I'm doing this my desk usually consists of Padtastic notepad pages everywhere!
- Write down classes, possible times, course codes clearly so when it comes to enrolment time you aren’t stressing and throwing paper everywhere!
And whilst lots of these tips are easier said than done I can assure you they can really help! If you feel like you’re drowning before university has even started please, please take on board even a couple of my tips and you’ll slowly but surely get into a great routine!
I'd love to hear what you’re studying and where you are in the world?
I was wondering if you are going to be sharing any of your de-cluttering/organising ideas soon.