University life: Five ways to become a better student
You’ll no doubt have heard all sorts about the university experience from those who graduated many moons ago: endless house parties, drinking from noon and ridiculous pub crawls while clad in obscure-themed fancy dress. Oh and maybe an essay or two plus desperate cramming sessions ahead of third-year finals that will determine one’s career fate forevermore.
Firstly, people love to exaggerate, so take the tales of the uni life of yesteryear with a pinch of salt. Secondly, you can’t escape the fact that in this day and age, going to university just isn’t what it once was. Gone are the days of grants and free tuition and instead school-leavers face hefty costs to obtain that bit of paper that says they are eminently employable. Suddenly the stakes for coming out of the system with a viable degree and likelihood of job security are far higher.
So instead of taking any tips from the dossers who scraped a 2:1 based on a combined working hour total that can be counted on two hands, why not be a bit more sensible and think about how to be the best student you can be?
A key way to get the most out of your studies is to be proactive. Don’t wait for your professors and tutors to be endlessly chasing you for deadlines but look ahead on the syllabus and plan your time well in advance so you know when the crunch times will be coming up. This will not only help you be prepared for your lectures, seminars and essay and exam deadlines but also know when you will have some free time to enjoy extracurricular stuff without distracting from your studying efforts.
Now more than ever, the academic qualification you receive at the end of your degree is not the sole factor that determines your future career and lifestyle options. Often it’s the projects and hobbies people pick up in their spare time that can actually become a side hustle they can monetise in future or simply something they love doing alongside a paid job. Perhaps you fancy starting a blog or writing for the uni newspaper? It’s a great basis from which to find writing work in future. Or there might be a club where you can practise filming and editing videos on your phone, a fantastic set of skills for aspiring filmmakers or digital content producers. Or you could try your hand at learning about cryptocurrency and how it’s bought and traded on sites like bitcoin x. Even if you don’t know what you might like doing yet, try a bit of everything and who knows what you might discover!
Ask for help
There can sometimes be the illusion that to be successful, you must suffer alone on your path to achievement. But the reality is there are very few successful people out there who didn’t have a wealth of help and support along the way. Make the most of the assistance on offer, whether that be one-to-one time with tutors, signing up to have a mentor or enlisting the help of fellow students. If you have an exam coming up, why not buddy up with others studying for the same one to swap notes and test each other? If you’re interested in a certain career path, see if there are career counsellors who can advise you or put you in touch with graduates who are already employed in that sector? Remember, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
Take care of yourself
All the worrying about deadlines, drinking too much and eating slapdash meals can have a vicious effect on your mental and physical health. Remember to make time in your weekly schedule to look after yourself. Make sure to catch up on sleep when you can, drink plenty of water to cure those hangovers and get some veg and protein onto your dinner plate where possible. Join the uni gym or sign-up for a society that keeps you physically fit, whether a team sport or dance club. Don’t leave work until the last moment to avoid high levels of stress. Find activities that soothe if you need a reset, such as reading literature, curling up with a favourite movie or listening to music. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!
Despite the pressure being on for you to achieve your best while at uni, it’s also a moment in life to open your mind to new ideas, make life-long friends and discover new things about yourself and the world around you. Working hard and having fun do not need to be mutually exclusive with good planning. It may not feel like it at the time, but in relative terms, you have fewer responsibilities than you will have once you’ve graduated, so embrace the university life where you can, whether it’s throwing yourself into the subject you’re studying, finding new hobbies you love or simply having a laugh with your new friends over a post-study drink.
The editorial unit