Mentally preparing for a semester of university can be hard to stomach. The thought of 3-hour lectures, even longer class breaks or crawling traffic on your way home is enough to make anyone shudder, even those of us in our final semester (YAY!). Although making promises at the beginning of the semester tends to work against me, after what was the hardest, yet most rewarding semester of university ever (in which I completed my entire second year of my business degree!), I learnt some valuable lessons and in order to try to get you pumped for the 12 weeks ahead, I’ve compiled them into a list! So whether you’re a fresher about to embark on the rollercoaster that is university, or a well seasoned vet in the halls of higher education, these tips are here to make your life just a smidgen easier – happy studying!
- Get to know the city your University is in – this might seem like a weird one, due to the risk of procrastination, but I can’t tell you the amount of times at Uni that I’ve needed to top up a bus card, withdraw money, grab a calculator and not knowing where to go when in a time crunch can be a real stress inducing exercise. So save yourself the mental energy and spend a couple of breaks wandering around and finding your feet.
- Study at Uni – I found in the last semester that trying to convince myself that I would go home and study never worked out well and that I got so much done when I stayed an extra hour or two to wrap up notes, study unfamiliar concepts and organise a future assignment. Studying at Uni gives you access to lecturers, free wifi, on campus coffee and most importantly – distraction free quiet time.
- Communicate with your teaching staff – making friends with professors proved so beneficial in my last semester as those students that go the extra mile and take time to ask questions and gain insight, are usually remembered by staff and that means that they can be more willing to help in a crisis. I have Uni lecturers who are references on my CV based on my communications with them, I have received clarification and help just minutes before an exam and have been offered more than I probably deserve purely because I went out of my way to communicate and establish a relationship.
- Take notes in your own words – this works because your brain has to actually unscramble the information its being fed at lightening speeds which means you’ll probably remember more of it! If a lecturer doesn’t have slides and is giving an oral presentation, I will type out key words and phrases in a bullet list and when they pause for a break I will put those words and phrases together into coherent notes. This technique has helped me so much as I have to apply logic and theory to my own notes, which again helps me remember them more quickly in the future.
- Join/start a study group – two other uni friends and I found that studying together made the craziness that is business actually make sense..sort of. We would study separately and then come together and compare notes, ideas and quiz each other, which came in very handy during exam time as it’s easy to get caught up in studying the stuff you already know and forgetting about the stuff that your brain has only skimmed over. If group study isn’t for you, you can always ask the teacher for extra question sheets from tutorials to take home and go over alone.
Let me know what you do to make life easier during the semester, or if any of these tips work for you!