Now I have been in my third year for a few weeks, I have managed to get a feel for how this year is going to pan out and what is expected of me.
My mind is chaotic and has been for a while now, but I have started to get things in order. I have made a University promise to myself…
As it is your third year at De Montfort University, I am needing you to try and focus more on your work and deadlines throughout the year.
After every lecture workshop, I need you to review your notes that have been taken and make sure that you understand what’s been covered. Read through it and reflect on it and if you don’t understand anything, enquire to your tutor and ask if they could explain again. Admit that you haven’t understood and accepted their help.
You know from experience that the more you don’t understand something, the more confused you will get as time progresses. Not understanding one lecture or workshop, could have a knock effect on other classes.
In previous years, you could have caught up and been able to get away with not understanding something, but in the third year, every piece of information and theme that is covered, so ask someone to explain things again. You may have only misunderstood one small element which has made the rest of the lecture or workshop confusing.
You know that your anxieties often get out of control very easily, so try and tackle each anxiety at the root before it explodes. Speak up to those who can help you with those worries and anxieties that relate to your assignments. Fresh pairs of eyes may help you see an answer and resolve some of the anxieties.
One of your big anxieties is group work. You know that how much you deny it, the anxiety is always there and it grows with time. The third year is crucial to your result when you graduate so you cannot risk the anxiety to get too much or to be put with the ‘leftovers’ or those who don’t pull their own weight when it comes to completing the work by the deadline.
I’m not saying it will work successfully, but I implore you to speak to your tutor before the groups are set and voice your worries, anxieties and who you would prefer to work within a group and who you would definitely prefer not to work with. I’m not saying the discussion between you and your tutor will have the outcome that you want, but at least you have voiced your anxieties and they may be taken on board.
During the duration of your third year, I want you to be mindful and manage your time effectively. Set some time aside to look over all of your assignments that you will be set throughout the year. Break it down into bite size pieces and make an important heading, so the breakdown has a clear structure when it comes to writing the piece up in full. After you have done this, go through it and start to make notes on your thoughts underneath this header and then add the notes that you have taken in your lectures and workshops under the relative headers.
It is very important that you make sure that all of the notes that you have taken in your workshop or lecture coincide with the headers you have made. Self-made notes are also vital to be in your assignment under the relative headings as you can refer to those which can make the assignment make a lot more sense when you come to write it up in full.
Make sure you have down time in between working on assignments. Take some time for yourself. Wind down. This is your third year and it is so important, you can’t afford mistakes. Tiredness can have a serious impact on your concentration and if your mind is totally switched on, you can make mistakes which can affect how you structure and construct and write your assignments.
If you are too tired or stressed, it is better to take a step back and clear your mind and take time to concentrate on yourself. When you feel like you are refreshed, you might return to your work and see a new perspective on it that you may not have thought of before you had that rest.
While the completion of your coursework and assignments are very important and crucial to graduating, it is also very important to build up a portfolio of published work in which you can use to assist you when securing a job in the industry in years to come. I would take advantage of the opportunities around the University that will help contribute to your portfolio. The lucky thing is you’ve got an advantage already, you have been a part of Demon Media for two years now and already have published material already via ‘Demon Magazine’ and links to your own radio shows and articles you have written on behalf of Birmingham PHAB Camps. This is a great start and use this to encourage yourself to write and publish more articles.
You have your blog which you update regularly, which has a strong following. Keep on with this. It may play a strong part in your future and as well as updating it regularly, it also shows how confident and dedicated you are to it and how efficient you are to potential employers. The beauty of having to build a portfolio of published journalism for 10% of one of your unit’s final mark is that you love to write as it is one of the few ways that you can express yourself and you, in fact, use it as a destress technique, so you can be having some downtime and updating your portfolio of published journalism, both at the same time. A win, win situation!
I have one last tip for you to finish off this promise to yourself. Remember to relax, have fun and take it day by day, especially after everything that has happened. It is crucial to find the right balance between work and free time.