After recently passing my degree I have had a few DMs on twitter asking how I prepared for the new year at university, specifically for first and third year I thought, I would tell you all what I have learnt over the last three years and how to prepare for that mass of stress coming your way!
These tips also help for other years of schooling too!
Summer to do list:
- Chill out, enjoy some time away from doing work, currently I know this is hard during a global pandemic (thank you very much Miss Rona), however, still take that time to focus on your mental health and do the things you love to do. I also found my summer holidays between years at university usually involved working full time so I had some disposable income for the nights out to come.
- Buy anything you need (although I found it easier to buy things like stationary etc at uni as it meant less to move into your new accommodation)
- Get to know your modules, look to see whether you are mainly doing, essays, presentations or exams as these can affect how you do your revision and work stye throughout the year.
- In my second year I had a Shakespeare module which meant reading the plays each week, I found reading them in the summer first very helpful for if I didn’t get enough time in that specific lecture week to read it in full I already had the general jist of the plot line and characters and could focus on the relevant critical readings instead. As you have a longer summer holiday at univeristy you have a lot longer to read your material prior than each week which if you are a slow reader like myself it can get very stressful very quickly.
- Hype yourself up, get motivated, get ready to focus and knuckle down (as well as have fun of course)!
What to do at uni:
- Plan to succeed: channel that summer motivation for you to work and dedicate some time to focus on those essays or learning that material.
- Establish a routine, especially after fresher’s week, as let’s be real, there is no point organising your sleep and work schedule for it to be ruined by the 5 day bender of fresher’s week. I didn’t have many contact hours in my second and third year and was mainly based on self-study, so I found it best to establish a routine where I could fit in rehearsals, work and because of that I could still have spontaneous nights out with my friends.
- Make sure you still take time off throughout the year, I always gave myself Saturday’s off as I had no society stuff or lectures so I could have the day to myself, recuperate and then if I felt like it, get work done. I found having a day or two off a week really helped me after I started to struggle in second year due to burn out. This also meant I was less likely to fall down the Youtube and Netflix blackhole when I wanted to focus as I had watched or would save the videos for my days off.
- This one is a learn from my mistakes, don’t, and I really mean don’t, leave things to the last minute! We have all been there and I have fully learnt from my mistakes in second year of the pure stress and sleep deprivation that went into an all-nighter project. Thankfully I still got a good grade but I can honestly say that was one of the worst nights of my life (although funny as it was shared with a friend in the same boat).
- Know how you study, if you study better around other people working, organise a study session to keep track or do what I do and FaceTime a friend so you don’t need to leave your flat!
- Find somewhere you know you can stay focused, for me it was our department building or a cafe as I can bribe myself with coffee the more work I do!
- Stay healthy! No, I don’t mean go to the gym twice a day, seven days a week, just by staying hydrated your bodies own energy levels can rise!
And if all this fails and you leave everything to the last minute and it all gets a bit much, cry under a table and look at cute pictures of cows and have your friends around you sending you animal memes.
Best wishes in your next year in education!