Ok, so it’s week two, a little behind the eight ball are we.
Nevertheless, it’s important to get things right and jump in before this semester is dragging us kicking and screaming right into the Christmas and festival season. Here’s our essential guide to commencing and maintaining a successful study semester.
Don’t over commit
Still trying to learn this one ourselves, but seriously, it feels like there are less hours in each day recently and like time just takes off on it’s own tangent in some hideous cat and mouse chasey situation. No fun!
Be realistic about how much you can fit in, work, play and study. Remember, most units require you to have 12 hours of independent study time apart from lectures, tutes and labs. Already that’s a massive amount of time, especially if you are full time undertaking 4 units! Military style time management might need to be employed if that’s the case.
Draw up a schedule of your non sleep hours, pencil in your employment commitments, family and personal commitments, non curricular activities and your classes and lectures. All the slots left are what you have to work with. If you can’t get what you need to done in this time (realistically) don’t take it on! Priorities what’s important and what’s essential and the rest, make it flexible.
Schedule, schedule, schedule
A friend told me that making time to study wasn’t enough — that I need to make an appointment with myself with a specific task assigned already or else, it’s just time ready for procrastination, Facebook and other unnecessary time eaters to jump in a take over. Don’t let them!
Her tip was — make a weekly checklist of everything you need to complete for the unit in that week then schedule a realistic time to it and put it in your diary like an appointment with a doctor. Have it agenda-ed what you need to accomplish or do in that time and stick to it — no cancelling!
I can’t tell you how much this has revolutionised how I study. It really works.
Make review notes — about everything
Yep everything — attended a lecture — make some notes. Watched a video — review what it was about. Listened to a podcast? What did you find interesting. Stuffed around reading articles on FB, what was of interest and how does it relate (if at all or not).
With SO much content constantly thrown our way, we are under a kind of information assault. How are our brains to known what to keep handy and what to archive? Make it easier for later in the semester by taking notes — even if just basic — as it happens. You won’t then have to stare at something thinking — I know I read that but have no NFI. You’ll have some basic notes to jog your recall.
Find systems that work for you
For me I have templates I use for everything. I use the same 5 things for each unit, I adjust them from time to time, but they don’t change much. Maybe you like to use paper and coloured pens for note taking? Maybe it’s flash cards or a bullet journal. Maybe you’ve digitised your life and have folders that contain everything you need all the time. Maybe you like to exercise early morning and study late evening — whatever works, make it work for you. Stick to it especially as the semester progresses.
Stay on top of weekly workload
I can’t stress this enough — get as much done as early as possible and stay ing control. One crap week can see you start sliding down the painful slope of “omg, I just can’t even” and “I just can’t understand what happened — it was week 3 and now — week 10”.
Make a list from your unit conveners union outline of everything expected for each week and things due and do your best to chop everything down into manageable pieces each week. Get it done! Even 45 mins of well organised and structured study time in a really busy day can make the difference. If at any stage you aren’t feeling ok about it all, talk to your unit convener, contact your union reps or the study skills crew. Nip it in the butt early. (< — — that part is really important)
Reference — as you go
Another 5 star tip from my friend.
Do your referencing whilst you write your essays, not at the end of writing it. Why? Because by the time you think you’re almost done, you may just be:
*Really close to deadline
*Completely cross eyed and super lax in your usual grammar naxi-isim (sorry that’s pretty un-pc, but you know what we mean)
Be kind to yourself and do it as you go. You won’t ever regret it, we promise.
Make it funky
Ok, maybe not funky, but try to make it as fun as is possible. Have a boring text — maybe see if others have made podcasts or lectures about it as an additional source. Find classmates to group up with to stuff and revise together. Listen to your fave music whilst tackling your assessments. Washi tape shopping expedition? Yes please! Bring on the stationary obsession. 101 lectures awaiting you on echo center? Download them as MP3s and listen to them on the train or whilst out on a walk. Bring in your personality and incorporate things that give it your style to soften the blow.
Most important of all
Don’t forget to make time for you. In all the madness, take time for self care. Reach out if you feel overwhelmed and make time to spend some time as a human being. This is essential. You matter and your wellbeing is paramount. A balance of nutrition, restful sleep, relaxation are the basics for staying healthy and at the optimum for study success. Do the things you love that bring you joy on a regular basis.
Best wishes for an awesome Semester two.
You’ve got this!!
Ps. You can (also) dance for inspiration — as the title song goes. x