Sunday, 14 August 2016

Preparing For University

This time three years ago I was awaiting my A Level results which would determine which university I went to, if any, so I can 100% empathise with any of you who are currently in this position. 

University will be one of the most exciting times of your life, but it is also OK to accept that you're a little daunted by the thought of it all. It's such a big step starting a new chapter in your education without factoring in having to make friends and potentially moving to a new place. 

As soon as you find out your results you'll be wondering how on earth you can get ready. I honestly believe that in order to prepare properly for the workload of university life, organisation is key. 

In my head I think I'm the Queen of organisation but in reality I'm pretty lazy at putting it into practice. My first year of university was spent with me stumbling through my course blind, never knowing what work was due in and on what dates. It would come to the day before 
when I would realise I had a deadline, meaning I had countless all-nighters. I soon learned 
that this 'technique' wasn't going to cut the mustard.

After the three years I spent at uni I've gathered a few tips that would have been useful to know before I started, so being the super kind person I am I'm going to share them with you...

"Buy your stationary in advance"

When you get to uni you'll be so wrapped up with Freshers activities you won't even think about getting stationary until you need it. There's nothing more embarrassing that turning up for your first lecture without even having a pen with you. You don't have to get anything expensive - have a look in your local supermarket or Poundland before resorting to WHSmith.

Once you've bought your stationary sort out your pencil case so you'll always be prepared. In my first term of uni I had a pencil case filled with so much stationary - pens, pencils, rubbers, felt tips, highlighters etc. But by the end of uni all I would take to lectures was a couple of pens and some highlighters, you really don't need loads. 

"Buy your books from Amazon"

Once you get your book lists get onto Amazon to buy the books you'll need in advance - don't pay the prices of top book shops because this will be an expensive shopping trip. Sure, the library will stock these books but when it comes to exams/assignments there's no way they'll be enough for everyone on the course. 

You don't need to buy every single book on the list but I would definitely suggest buying the main text for each module - especially if it seems like it will be beneficial throughout your entire course and potentially into your career. 

Now I've finished uni I'm selling my unwanted textbooks on Amazon so you're able to get some money back when they're no longer needed. 10 points for guessing what course I've just graduated from! 

"Get a diary and use it!"

I cannot stress this enough. At the start of the year look through all your module outlines and put your important due dates into your diary. Put your deadlines in a different colour pen to your day to day pen or highlight them so it stands out. Now I'm preparing to start my new job my diary looks a little bit different to how it did when I was at uni, but the way I organise it is still the same. 

Another idea is to get a wall calendar so you can see in advance that you have deadlines coming up. A simple alternative is to write a list of your deadlines in order of when they appear.

"Keep your notes together"

Put all your work into folders so that when the time comes for exams and assignments you know where to find all your important information. Do this straight away after you get home - don't fall into the trap of 'I'll just keep the loose paper in my notepad and file it away later'. After every year I was at uni I would be stuck with a mountain of paper to sort through because I was too lazy to file it away earlier.

"Just do you"

Whilst it's great to do work with your friends, don't getting concerned if their way of working is different to yours. In my friendship group at uni three of us would do all our work at the very last minute (I'm talking the day before!) whilst the ever organised Katy would be starting all her assignments weeks in advance. 

It's important to remember to stick to how you know you work best rather than trying to mould yourself to someone else's work style. You'll get it finished on time so be proud of yourself when you do, even if it's later than everyone else!

Uni is an amazing experience and if you work hard and stay organised you'll reap the benefits later on it life. And if you're all about the partying, just think, the more organised you are the more time you'll have for hitting those tequilas! 

Good luck for next week, I hope you get the results you've worked so hard for.

S x


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