6. STUDY GROUPS
I can guess what you are thinking when you hear this point of advice. As soon as you settle in, you are advised to join a study group, particularly one made up of your fellow course members. I know it may sound trivial but it really is useful. It doesn’t have to be a formal group, it can be just friends helping each other with their coursework. Study groups can also be made up of you and your friends, working on different coursework as well as study groups with your friends on your course.
Study groups are like mini-workshop sessions, you can work on your own deadlines while helping other members with their deadlines. It saves you being in your room or in the library on your own, working bent over for hours. Working with others in your study group can relieve some of the pressure off you and it will allow your mind to be opened to new tips and methods and techniques that you may not have otherwise considered for your assignment.
While you are working with other members of your study groups, it allows you to relax and talk. It makes the deadline seem so much easier and less threatening, it will also make the time go so much faster as they might advise you to use a technique which cuts the time working on a specific section in half.
Being set group project deadlines are another time where study groups become exceedingly useful. Once you are set the tasks and deadline in class, you are left to your own devices, with little guidance from your tutors. It is yours and your groups’ responsibility to take charge of what is involved in the project and to complete it sufficiently by the deadline. I agree that you each assign yourselves with specific parts to complete alone, which splits everything equally and you are given workshop time to work on the deadline but this is sometimes not enough.
I have found from experience that when I get set group project deadlines, I underestimate the amount of time you have to complete the deadline. I assume that because we are given nearly a month to work on it and it is a group deadline, so the work is split, I believe we have plenty of time. But I was wrong.
Yes you are given this amount of time and it is a group project but when you consider everything and all you are expected to do, you really don’t have much time. If you and your group decide to work, only in the workshop dedicated to that unit, then the time you have to complete it is very limited.
This is when study groups are key, make sure you use the workshops to work on the project but also meet up as a group outside of the workshop sessions and dedicate the time to working on your group project. If you do this, it is a good way to relieve the pressure and anxiety of completing this deadline together with the other members of your group, especially when you have so many other deadlines to complete around about the same time.
7. BALANCING ALL PARTS OF STUDENT LIFE
Now, this may be something you haven’t thought about or maybe you have. When going through your University journey, it is a lot about balancing all parts of your student life. It takes a lot of work and effort but you need to learn to balance your studies and your social life to enjoy and get the most out of your University life. As well as balancing your studies, deadlines and student life, you also have considered getting yourself a part-time job.
Seeking part-time employment may seem too much to put on your plate at one time as well as your studies and social life, it may not be something you pursue immediately but it is important to consider it. Before you go to University, I suggest making sure your CV is up to date and tailored to your chosen career path or industry in which you choose to work in. University is the perfect chance to pick up the tools of the trade and then for you to get the experience and then use it in a form of internships and employment. If you have time during your University year and do decide that you want to seek part-time employment or internships related to your chosen industry or career path, I suggest updating your CV, to include any of the skills you have acquired while studying your course.
Alongside seeking part-time employment or internships related to your chosen industry or career path, I also suggest looking out for a part-time job to help with your finances. I have friends who have secured jobs as bar staff or as waiters and have worked while at University for the experience and income to live off.
8. CLUBS & SOCIETIES
All Universities have clubs and societies which make them unique and they also offer a range of other clubs and societies in which students can join. They want you to enjoy all aspects of University and get the most out of your student life. I love how the University offers all sorts of ones, which suit all the hobbies and interests of students. Then there is the possibility of starting up a new club or society if there is not one that exists that you want to join or you have a new idea to make one.
There are sport and athletics and gymnastic clubs and musical clubs. The list is endless. There are also clubs and societies for particular films or TV shows, in which students can join and talk about the theory and trivia behind them. What I like, is you as the student can join as many as you like to suit all of your hobbies and interests. I love the fact that they are just ones for people who love going out and partying, there are also those clubs and societies for those who don’t like going out very much.
I suggest this, before you start at your chosen university, find and research the clubs and societies which are available. There should be a section on your University’s Student Union website, dedicated to the clubs and societies available. Once you find them on the website, you should be able to click on them and read more about what they are and what’s involved. Agreed, they won’t give you many details on the website but it will give you an idea. Then I suggest, you talk with other students that are going to the same University to see which ones they are joining.
Make sure you attend both of the freshers and activities fair during your University’s welcome week and get a taster for all of the clubs and societies you are interested in before joining up. Following the freshers and activities fair join as many clubs and societies as you want. It is a great way to make groups of friends outside your halls of residence and your course and get the most out of your student experience.
I know how this may sound like a cliché but the friends you make now at University are for life. It is important to make a lot of your friends during your first year at University as people are quick to form friendship groups and you need to act fast and form these friendship groups.
9. GIVE YOURSELF BREAKS – TIME FOR YOURSELF
Now student life can be difficult and be challenging for everyone. Your University journey can seem overwhelming and intimidating when you first embark on it. The city, new people, new surroundings. It takes a lot of time but you need to learn to balance your studies and your social life to enjoy and get the most out of your University life. Once you feel like you have got a handle on your studies, start factoring in a social life. Go out and enjoy yourself, have some fun with your friends, have some time to wind down and relax. I know it may seem impossible to factor in a social life when you have the level of work you do. But all work and no play makes you a very stressed and unhappy student. I know from experience how easy it is to bury yourself in your studies, wanting to get on top of everything, before you go out. But if you are anything like me, you keep doing this and then find that you haven’t been out for several days.
Make sure you keep everything balanced. Completing all of your coursework and meeting deadlines is very important but your social life and making friends is as important. Taking breaks for yourself and winding down after long days, will actually help you focus when you come to work on your assignments and deadlines. You will have a clearer head.
10. EMBRACE THE UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE
My final bit of advice for you is to relax and enjoy your student experience. Seize all of the opportunities your University and the surrounding city offers you. Build up your character and your experience. You are in charge of your own student experience and your own destiny.