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Advice for Freshers: Starting Your Studies

Starting your studies at university can be a daunting prospect, especially when you have spent the first few weeks just trying to settle in and look after yourself. Many people will tell you that it’s no big deal – so what if you don’t read the whole text each week? And forget about the secondary reading. Well, I am here to tell you not to believe in that myth.

Freshers year DOES count for many things, even if it doesn’t directly contribute to your overall degree classification. The amount of effort that you put into your studies this year will be reflected in the grades you receive for the next two years, how employers perceive you, and how inclined your tutors are to give you a helping hand.

Without wanting to worry you too much, I have prepared some advice for freshers about how you can keep on top of a growing workload and succeed in first year.

Advice for Freshers:

Get a diary

Probably the most useful thing you can do in order to get organised and complete your work on time is to get yourself a diary – and use it. Writing down what you have to do and by when is a much more effective way of remembering it than simply making a note on your phone or relying on emails. Bring your diary to every lecture and seminar, even if you are not expecting extra work. If you make a habit of using it, your diary will help you stay away from panicked all-nighters.

Take your books everywhere

Long gone are the school days when your peers would judge you for reading at lunchtime. Most people are at university because they want to learn, so feel free to take your text for the week wherever you go. If you find yourself alone in Costa for an hour, whip out your book instead of your phone. Those little pockets of time add up, so you will find that your productivity increases substantially if you use them.

Organise your time

There are 24 hours in a day. That means it is definitely possible to watch an episode of your favourite show, see your friends, and get your work done. The important thing is to set aside time for each activity. If not, you could end up wasting a lot of time because you hadn’t made plans – and stuck to them.

Be realistic

Social life, good grades, sleep: pick two. Remember this? In reality, it is not so black and white. It is possible to achieve all three, but you have to be realistic about your priorities. So you have Friday mornings off? You could go out every Thursday night – but what about that presentation due on Friday afternoon? Only say yes to events which could take up a lot of your study time if you are already prepared for the consequences. If you have already prepared for the presentation on Friday afternoon, fine, go out Thursday night. But remember, you can always say no.

And finally, make sure you relax

While it is important to study hard and do well at university, make sure you take some time to relax. If you are stressed out, your work will suffer and so will your health. So when you start planning your schedule, pencil in some hours to simply chill out. It will do you the world of good.

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