University: 3 or 4 years of new friends, laughter, memories which will stay with you forever and jaegerbombs. So. Many. Jaegerbombs. But most importantly, we cannot forget the reason we actually applied to university in the first place; to further our education. The way University semesters work is pretty frustrating, but completely makes sense. We have a few months to play and not worry about work, and then right at the end there is an absolute Spanish Armada of essays due in round about the same time, but we can’t write essays without learning the stuff* (*information, knowledge) we are to write about first. Without essays and exams you won’t get that little bit of paper at the end of your degree which means the chronic amount of student debt you’re now in was all worth it because you have some letters by your name. Believe it or not, there is a way to keep on top of your work and still squeeze in some time for fun and we have compiled a nice little guide that will show you how. Follow this guide and your university life will not only be full of fun but it’ll be a breeze too.
First thing’s first: get your uni timetable printed out and stuck up on your door. If you don’t have a printer then draw it in some different colours. Get it loud and proud! You’re only in uni for a few hours a week and you’re paying an awful lot to be there so you may as well make the most of it and attend your lectures; that is the general premise of university in the first place after all. If you attend your lectures and learn your stuff then your essays and assignments won’t be anywhere near as daunting. Contrary to popular belief they don’t actually set you essay questions on topics you’ve never studied. When you have a timetable ready in front of you, you’ll be able to see which nights are the best for you to go out, which days are the best for you to plan things with your mates and which weekends you can pop home or have people visit. It’s a really simple way of planning your life around your education, rather than compromising either element.
Print out your module/unit handbooks. In the handbooks there will be a list of general reading, reading for each individual lecture and your assessment options for that module, including submission dates. As soon as possible into the semester, write out all of your assessment requirements and deadlines on piece of paper. Transfer this into a timetable. This way you’ll know what you have to do, for what unit and by when. With this information pinned up on your door, on your wall or in your diary (anywhere you’ll see it regularly) you have plenty of time to figure out which assessments to prioritise, you’ll know how much time it will take to roughly get everything done and you can plan your work in advance. For example, one assessment might be 2,000 words, due in in a month, if you can do 500 words a week which seems like nothing, the assessment will be completed, stress free and with plenty of time for you to say ahhhh go on then to that night without feeling guilty for not doing your work.
The theme of this guide is pretty simple: organisation. It may take you half an hour to knock up a timetable, but that’s months’ worth of planning done for you! If you’re a bit geeky and love post it notes and coloured pens then make a timetable for everything. Make a schedule for your work so you know what you have to get done and when. The more you organise your time the more time you’ll have to do all the little things which really make your university experience special. Work all day and have the night off watching come dine with me with your housemates, head off to the library Saturday morning to do some reading, pop home for a nap and then go and drink all the snakebite you like at the union. It really is all about compromise.
A tip which works for many students is to do the majority of studying outside your house. You’re sat in your room and you have your phone, youtube, dvds, the fridge...basically unlimited procrastination resources. If you go to the library, you can really focus in a quiet environment and get your head down. I guarantee that what might take you 5 hours at home will take you half the time in the library, and this is the best way to separate your time. This works particularly well during exam period. Wake up, shower, have your breakfast and head on down to the library, put in a good revision shift, head home and do absolutely nothing – guilt-free. Home is for relaxation and chilling out so make sure you have the clear separation between work and fun. The more you work, the more fun you have. Without risk of sounding like your parents, the motto work hard, play hard really is true. For example, with your dissertation. 10,000 words: if you do 2,000 a month (a measly 500 words a week) from the date you’ve made your title before you know it it’ll be completed, redrafted and bound before you’ve even realised what happened. Alternatively you can survive on a diet of monster and redbull, try and cram it all into a month and watch your more sensible friends out partying whilst you slowly lose the will to live in the library. Just think about it: it makes sense.
So the secret to keeping on top of your work mountain and having a bloody good time while doing it is to be organised. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can actually get fully organised too! Give it a try and you won’t regret it. Now who fancies an afternoon at the pub?