So, I can’t be the only one who was glad to see the back of 2016, right? Surely a year that managed to take George Michael, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds all in a matter of days is considered a bad one by everyone? But, when I think back, there was one part of 2016 that went surprisingly well; uni. And so, in 2017, my new year’s resolution was to handle uni exactly the same way as I did last year. So here are my top tips on how to have a fresh, and hopefully successful, start to the new term!
Start essays ridiculously well in advance. I know there’s far better things to do, but think how fabulous it would feel to reach deadline day and have nothing to worry about. And of course, I don’t mean write the whole damn thing in one go and have done with it, I mean plan meticulously. Give yourself attainable goals for each week. My first step is to pick an essay title I know I’ll enjoy. Not the easiest, not the first one on the list, but the one that jumps out at me. Because I’ve picked my essay titles with such scrutiny, I’ve ended up writing essays on Marvel and Star Wars, two things which I adore. Then, consult the reading list for your question, plus pick out any key terms or initial ideas you’ve had for your essay, and check the library search to see if there’s anything more to help you. My next step is to pick out all the key quotes and ideas from my books, and use them to help me form the main body of my essay. Once your quotes are picked out, you can begin to plan the whole thing. But, like I said, take the planning week by week, and the actual essay writing, and trust me, it’ll be as painless as you can imagine.
I know it’s a pretty obvious one but, seriously, go to all your lectures and seminars. Not only is it what you’re paying £9000 a year for anyway, but it will do wonders for your grades if you actually listen to your lecturers and not just print off the lecture slides (which I am guilty of doing). And seminars are just as important. It’s basically a way to hear all your peers’ ideas, and then ‘borrow’ them for your own essay. And genuinely, people do tend to have some amazing ideas that you’ve never thought of. Plus, seminars are the best way to talk to your tutors. Yes, email is good, but there’s nothing better than a face to face conversation, right?
Be that person; talk to everyone. Uni will probably be one of the first times you find yourself in a room full of people just like you; people who have the same interests as you and people who might even have similar job aspirations to you. You can never, ever have too many friends, especially not when it comes to people who can help you if you ever hit an academic block. Be friendly, be warm and just talk to as many people as you can. Everyone’s in the same boat, everyone has come from different places, some not even in the UK, and everyone needs friends.
Probably the most important tip: do not let uni take over your life. If you find yourself getting overly stressed, take a time out. Go out. Call a friend. Go home for the weekend. Do not let it get to a point where you feel like you can’t manage anymore. There are so many options available for help at uni, so never, ever feel like you’re alone if you get really stuck. Friends, lecturers, personal tutors, everyone is on hand to help in some way. Why not even find a part-time job? Join as many societies as possible? Explore this amazing new city you’ve found yourself in? There’s so much more to uni life than just work, and although it should be at the forefront of your mind about 50% of the time, do not let it overwhelm you.
So, there you have it, my four easy tips for surviving uni. May everyone’s 2017 go off without a hitch!