University is such a new thing for everyone, it can be overwhelming and stressful and so it is important to make sure you manage your time. There are so many ways to make sure you keep on top of your workload and balance your responsibilities.
Every course has a different amount of contact hours, for my course (Law) there is about 12 hours a week which is split between lectures and seminars. It is essential that you prioritise these as they are a key foundation of your degree. It is definitely possible to catch up on all of your work around those contact hours but if you don’t attend your lectures/seminars you’ll struggle to understand, and the independent work will be seemingly harder which therefore will take up more time in your already busy schedule.
So far, what has worked for me is setting goals for myself. This keeps me motivated and helps me to prioritise my work. I set daily, even hourly tasks and then bigger weekly goals. I write a list at the start of the day and if I complete it then I reward myself with either a snack or an episode of my favourite tv series. If you do this every week, prioritising the seminar work or lecture reading which is due first then you will never get behind. Rewarding yourself also gives you an incentive and enthusiasm and in turn means you’re more likely to carry it through and continue setting yourself achievable goals. I also use sand timers to ensure I am only working for 30 minutes a time and resting in between, especially during revision periods. If you don’t give yourself breaks then the work will seem unmanageable and stressful. It is important to take time out, even if it is just for a few minutes to make a drink.
Calendars and Diaries
Another tip which works for me is to put everything in a diary, this ensures that I never miss an event and can plan my revision around my social life. I also find it really beneficial to plan my month out in a big wall calendar. I draw out the month and use different highlighters to signify different parts of my life, for example I have lectures and seminars in green, Student Ambassador work in blue, anything else which is educational in pink and my social life in yellow. This helps me visualise the whole month and enables me to plan and see when I am busy. I would definitely recommend this as it has helped me get on top of things and plan ahead.
Again, something else which has really helped me throughout my first and second year is the 9am-5pm tip. I was given this tip on an open day by another student. They said if you treat university like a 9 to 5 job then you should never get behind. If you work around your contact hours 9-5 on Monday to Friday then you should be able to keep on top of it without getting too overwhelmed or stressed. It will also allow you to have the evenings and weekends free to go home, spend time with friends or family or even just to have a day chilling to yourself.
This leads me onto my final point that it is so important to take time to yourself. Like I have already said, university is overwhelming and stressful and you need to take time out and give yourself a break. University is perfectly manageable, it is just about how you manage your time.