I won’t lie to you…this term has definitely beaten the absolute living hell out of me. For many people, university is the best years of their lives but for me, it has been a constant rollercoaster of ups and downs (more downs then I would like to admit, really). It took me a long time to admit I was struggling at university, not necessarily with the work but just…attending, I guess. Many a night, I have laid in bed and pondered upon how I could make living the university life easier for myself as a student. So, here are a few points from my uni survival guide.
1.Get organised. I won’t lie, university deadlines can be brutal. At points it may seem like assignment after assignment and exam after exam are being thrown at you, so it’s best to get yourself sorted – I’ve found that getting a planner has somewhat helped. Seeing everything written down is a wake-up call and can help to give you the kick that you really need to get things in motion.
2.Start your deadlines early. This can be tied in with the above. I’m a master procrastinator, so unless deadlines are imminent, I have no desire to start them. However, the only solution is minimising the stress that comes with the frantic rush to complete your work after putting it off for so long is to think ahead. Start your research early so that you leave yourself enough time to complete assignments to the best of your ability, without a rush and to handle any breaks down you may encounter. Although I suggest not leaving everything until the last minute, I suggest learning how to speed read – it’s a God-send for seminar notes.
3.Don’t be an a-hole. Remember that you’re at university surrounded by the same group of people for a fair few years so being nice to your course/flat mates won’t hurt. Offer a smile and stop for a chat every once in a while. You never know what someone is going through so asking how someone is getting on and giving a few words of encouragement can never go a miss.
4.Budget. Take advantage of student discounts whilst you can and spend sensibly. Do I really need to get four Kit-Kats from the vending machine to get me through a two-hour lecture? (The answer is no, but sometimes it can be too tempting).
5.Bulk up your CV.University is a great chance to take on new opportunities that will later sell yourself to future employers. You will never have the amount of time off that you do now in nearly any other job so take a small portion of your time and use it wisely to make your CV stand out.
6.Find balance. Personally, I am a full-time student and at one point, had three part-time jobs, so finding some time to balance out the work with fun is important. Reward yourself during term-time or you’ll burn out pretty quickly.
7.Focus on you. Make sure that you put yourself first and not just to benefit your education, but for your mental health too. University can be really tough, and for someone who has really struggled with anxiety I found it extremely difficult the first year with feeling like I had to act a certain way to fit in. Newsflash: no one expects anything from you, so don’t force yourself to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. Also, relax about relationships. It might seem like the be-all-end-all right now, but as cheesy as it sounds, if it’s meant to be, it will be. Your degree will never leave you, so make sure you focus on what you’re paying for.
8.And remember, you’re not alone. Your lecturers are there to help you, SSWB is there to help you. Please don’t feel that you have to suffer in silence, open up to someone you trust if you are struggling. Like I said before, education is important, but so are you.
No one ever teaches you how to survive university, maybe because it’s a joyous time for many, or maybe because no one wants to open up that conversation, but here’s a few of the things that I’ve found to be useful. I could go on, but really I’m still trying to figure it all out for myself.