Whist heading back to Uni can be a cure for the organisational wasteland that is the Summer holidays, it can also lead to the often hastily made (and perpetually unfulfilled) promise, ‘this semester will be different’. Staying organised at Uni is no mean feat for even the most disciplined among us, and if you are a Uni newbie, prepare yourself now for the structureless void that is tertiary education. Here are the sure-fire ways to keep your head above water and avoid the deep, dark descent into disorganisation.
Be Smart About Subject Selection
Selecting the right subjects for you can potentially halve the amount of willpower you need to stay on top of things. Partaking in tertiary level education is an opportunity to undertake fields of study that genuinely interest you; unlike school, where PE is compulsory until Year 10 and the BEEP test is a necessary evil. So make the most of this, and enjoy the freedom to choose subjects that you’ll actually want to work for. Choose and research your electives seriously. Carefully evaluate the course content (and whether it is of interest to you.) You can also check out the nature of assessment (and how much of your time it will devour.)
This will result in a timetable of subjects you will not only enjoy working for, but that are not unexpectedly work/time intensive. Don’t be caught off guard by the weekly quizzes and four 2000-word essays. Read the subject descriptions carefully and know what you are getting yourself in for. (Note: It’s still early days in Sem 1, and not too late to change without incurring fees.)
Create A Semester Overview
Sometimes we all have to do things (and subjects) we’d rather not. However, creating an overview of the semester ahead, can help you to better manage your time in these situations. You can write all assessment dates into your calendar/diary/notification system. Make reminders one (or sometimes two) week(s) before a particularly hefty assessment is due (definitely recommend.) Identify regular assessment patterns (e.g. weekly quiz) and factor in preparation time into your weekly schedule. While you’re doing this, it’s good to consider your other work or social commitments. Hell, why not give yourself a little bit of enjoyment and make it pretty? You can note assessments and preparation time for each subject in different colours (this is also perfect for the OCD inclined.)
Whilst initially time intensive, creating a semester overview allows you to glance at your diary and have a really clear idea of what the coming few months have in store for you. The benefits are numerous. It reduces the chance of ‘forgetting’ assessments, helps with last minute stress and ensures adequate preparation time. It will stop you from overcommitting yourself and you’ll froth over being organised.
Get Your Resources Sorted Now
How many of us have waited weeks, if not months to decide whether buying a university textbook is ‘worth it’? How many of us have stumbled through the first few weeks of tutorials without the subject reader, awkwardly peering at the student’s next to us (who you’ve not yet plucked up the courage to say hey to #whatareunifriends?)
We all know those people who boast of getting through a literature course ‘without even reading the books’, but don’t be that person. And don’t be the person who always has to borrow everything. Brave the queues at the uni book shop, or trawl online for better deals and just make it happen.
Getting your resources sorted may also involve locating people/mentors who may be of help to you throughout the course. If you anticipate needing assistance in a particular area, or you just want some advice, make a list of people who may be useful to you and contact them.
The great thing about Uni, is that reaching out to people you don’t know isn’t taboo. Everyone is there to learn and meet people. You may even join clubs that you’ll never attend, and (maybe) develop some employable skills. Enjoy the freedom of uni, but don’t drown in it. Employ these tactics and rise above the structureless void that is the tertiary education system.