Being a student isn't all about the partying, living off packet noodles and struggling for a 10 am lecture it's also why you're paying so much, to study. I'm a big advocate of making the most of my time in university as so many people who are older and missed out wished they did it, and that the amount we now pay is ridiculous. Did you know that if you have around 14 hours contact time in university you're paying around £40 a lecture... did that ever occur to you? Thats a lot of money per hour, so make the most of it. In order to make the experience easier rather than strenuous I have some tips ready for your first, second or even third year. I'm only just becoming a second year and have learnt and reflected a lot on my first year so plan to work even harder this time round.
READING LISTS: As part of your lectures and seminars (find out more about them here [LINK]) you will be given set reading each week, be it a chapter, half a book or even an article these are crucial on excelling and finding out what the lecturer wants you to know. Our lecturers gave readings weeks in advance so we could locate the books. At the beginning of each term I made a word document with the name of the book, chapter, topic, page numbers, and where I could find the book. If it was online I made a hyperlink. I even shared this with a couple of my classmates as they found it really handy to have to look at without logging into moodle everytime. Takes half hour and is probably the most useful document you'll own when it comes to exams.
GRADE LIST: From the beginning of the year I made sure I had written down every grade I received from coursework and tests. I places these into modules. This was a great way to start identifying strengths and weaknesses and as I found, exams were my weaknesses. My coursework grew over the year and tests were steady so I really recommended keeping on track of your grades so if you do slip, you'll be able to identify where you are weaker and then will be able to address that.
BOOK OR LAPTOP NOT BOTH: Over my first year I seemed to alternate from using my laptop for notes to notebook and pen. At first having your laptop in class is so much fun and a luxury. However, buzzfeed soon becomes your best friend and you're notes are unfathomable. Unless you've restraint I recommend notebooks. You can link things much easier, however, choose from day one. I alternated that my notes were so mixed match that it was a bit of a school boy error. This year I'll be using paper and pen because when it came to exams, my weird little notes on the edge of margins made more sense to me than odd typed abbreviations.
DIARY/JOURNAL/CALENDAR: Last year I bought a filofax to keep with me throughout the year, I was soon finding my calendar on my Macbook was not good at keeping me organised. So I have been decorating my filofax with washi tape and sections to create an organised planner. This is great for planning out your deadlines, exam dates and holiday times. Its best to keep on top of deadlines as there may be the occasion like I experienced where we had 3 essays over Christmas. It may of been 6 weeks to write each one but if they're all due within 3 days of each other its a big pressure when you've left it last minute. Keep organised. You'll love it when it works in your favour.
ONLY YOUR GRADES ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU: This sounds odd, but when you're in a big class and you all get your results it can be really disheartening when you got a less than expected score or even when you got an amazing score but they're someone who complains about being 1 off a first or something similar. Its a really awful feeling, because you feel like people will think your score isn't any good, or that you're being belittled. Never worry though, everyone has their own goals and achievements. To me, getting anything over 59 for me was my goal, I was very stuck in a rut at 55 for a while, fixed it and it went up. Others will be crying there eyes out if they had my grades, but overall I was happy with them. Its all about you, and what you end your degree with. Do not feel belittled or less because others have higher goals.
Do you have any other questions or topics you'd like to know more on? Let me know!