Back to Uni: A How-To Guide

After months of summer sun, sleeping in and generally doing whatever we want, it’s finally time to head back to university. On top of the inevitably difficult early mornings, the mountains of readings, assignments, quizzes and lectures can be pretty overwhelming. So, as we kiss goodbye freedom and return to the daily grind, these are my survival tips on how to kick this semester’s butt.

 

Planning:

If just the thought of balancing study with part-time (or even full-time) work, pursuing your interests, keeping fit, eating well, seeing friends and family and just generally staying sane sends your head into a spin, you are not alone. As a uni student, planning is vital in keeping on top of deadlines as well as visualising and managing your free time effectively. Whether with iCal, the cutest calendar in Kikki.K or just a good old fashioned diary, plotting out your weeks will keep you organised and alleviate unnecessary stress. If you are new to organising, play with a few different methods and find out what works for you. The ideal planning technique is one that comes naturally to you and makes you feel relieved, planning shouldn’t be stressful. I find that sticking to a weekly or monthly calendar is most effective for me and that using diaries and day planners tend to end up as more of a chore. Find what works for you and never let it go.

 

Go to class:

In the age of online lectures, it is essential to develop a routine. The best way to avoid getting left behind is to attend each and every tutorial, seminar, practical and lecture on your schedule for at least the first two weeks. Although it can be draining to sit indoors for hours on end, if you physically attend your lectures then you wont have to find time to watch them later. I also find that watching the recordings at home opens us up to a world of distractions and so a one-hour lecture soon turns into a three-hour procrastinating session. By maintaining your attendance in the first couple of weeks you’ll quickly establish a routine that will become second nature in no time.

 

Develop study habits:

Studying is an inevitable part of the university experience. Even if you don’t have exams, there will always be readings to revise, essays to research and assignments to write. Figuring out your optimal study habits will allow you to avoid wasting time and achieve a higher standard of work. Whether its at home, at the university library or in your favourite café, where you work is key to how you work. Similarly, establishing whether you’re more of a group studier or a lone wolf can be the difference between finishing your next essay in a calm and timely manner or cramming it all in at the last minute. For me, I prefer to work alone or with one other person that I can bounce off of whilst at home or occasionally in a coffee shop for a change of scenery. Just as with maintaining your organisation, try out a few different environments and situations and you’ll soon uncover your optimal study circumstance.

 

Find time for fun:

Last but definitely not least, let yourself breathe. While education is important, it’s even more important to remember that university isn’t the be-all-and-end-all and that it shouldn’t detract from your overall wellbeing. Allow yourself to rest, relax, socialise and enjoy the beautiful things in life. A happier, more positive you is a more successful you so remember to look after yourself and actively partake in activities that feed your soul and recharge your batteries.

 

Header image via Ben Neale.

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