If you’ve ever read any of my advice blogs, about any aspect of university life, chances are I’ve suggested you either take plenty time to do something or create a schedule. However, what you should probably know is that I’ve actually really struggled without a highly structured life, especially in my second and third year. Reading the title of this blog you may think I’ve mixed up my sayings, but I haven’t; film students often have a lot of time which isn’t dictated by classes, and as such time is literally our own, and it is our responsibility to use it wisely. Today I thought I’d talk a little bit about that, to give an insight into what the life of a film student is really like.
I think when people choose a university course, there’s a misconception that all your days will be filled with classes, and you’ll have the structure life you were used too with sixth form, or work etc. Spoiler…you don’t. For some courses you do, but for others, usually in the humanities and social sciences, you will have far less contact hours. Although I’ve had more contact hours in previous years, I currently have eight hours worth of classes (four of which are screening hours), due to my dissertation counting as one of my modules. I go into university to attend classes two days a week, but that’s it.
So, that leaves me five days, and a good chunk of hours from my two days of university, to myself. That’s daunting. There’s a lot of stigma around university students that as a group, even if we are very intelligent, we are lazy. I’d like to proffer a new angle, that yes I can’t say that absolutely every student is super dilligent to their work, however lots of students use their time in different ways, and still get the same job done. Ultimately it’s up to us as to whether we divide our work up into small chunks, or do it all in one go.
University is your opportunity to make your own schedule, which is healthy for you. For example I’m a big worrier, so starting my work early is essential, in case something goes wrong. However, typically I find my academic brain will not kick in until about 11am, so would there actually be any point of sitting at a desk staring into space for two hours? I get around this by using my morning to do other little jobs, whether domestic or admin, such as cleaning the bathroom or going through my emails.
I’d also advice trying to plan your week. Every weekend I try and create a mental plan of what I’ll be doing in the days the following week. This schedule is usually different week to week, however always ticks off the key components, these include: a day at home, 1-2 sessions studying in the library, a trip to the gym, and some time with a friend. I do have preferred days to do certain activities, which I’ll try and stick to, but here comes the biggest advantage of having control of your plans; you can be flexible! Admittedly this can lead into the temptation of procrastinating, but that struggle is probably another blog post in itself.
I would in no way suggest leaving things to the last minute, but equally I know peers who thrive off of that time pressure. All I’m really trying to say is that structure truly can enhance your university experience, and can help you feel more in control; it just takes a little bit of self motivation.
Take Care Everyone, I’ll Speak to You All Soon!