August 19, 2020, by Agnes
Adjusting to Self-Motivated Study
One of the massive differences between A levels and your degree is how much of your study is dependent on you. Of course, you have a lot of freedom in terms of your attendance and optional exercises, worksheets and assignments – but what does that freedom really mean? It turns out that having that much autonomy over your studies can be hugely intimidating and often difficult to manage. I had a really hard time managing it at first.
Tip #1: Take note of all your deadlines as soon as you get them.
At the beginning of every module, I was handed a booklet or sent a document full of assignments for that entire module. Did I bother looking through it and writing down hand-in dates? No, I didn’t think I would need to! Cut to me rushing a worksheet before a tutorial because I overheard someone discussing a question from it and I had no idea what they were talking about. At university, your lecturers most likely won’t remind you of any due work, you’re just expected to know when and where you’re expected to hand in your assignments.
Tip #2: Get organised!
Thankfully, that happened in week two so I had time to get organised and make sure I never had to rush a worksheet again. The single thing that helped me the most with time management was my planner. Even if you weren’t a planner person before- you should seriously try it at university. With the number of important things you have to keep track of it’s just not worth the risk of forgetting anything. At the very least get a wall planner or calendar to keep above your desk. I just can’t stress it enough how important it is for you to get organised – it will make your workload so much easier to manage!
Tip #3: Reach out if you’re struggling.
Even if you’re the world’s most organised person, the workload can be really intimidating. There were weeks during my first year where I would have a massive to-do list for the week and just crumble thinking of everything I had to do. If you’re really struggling under the workload or with anything else, I definitely recommend reaching out. When my mountain of work was piling up and I had no energy to do it, I gathered up some courage and spoke to my tutor about feeling low and overworked. He gave me good advice and provided me with some resources and other people to speak to if I needed to. If you’re not comfortable discussing your mental health with your tutor, there are resources from the university which you can refer to.
Adjusting to university can be difficult, but you’re not alone. You can do it!
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