Now, it all starts to feel real…
Freshers is officially over and you’re a couple of weeks into your actual degree. You probably have no idea what’s going on and still don’t feel completely settled into the semester (trust me, I still feel like this and it’s my second year!) You’re probably juggling a couple of modules and just trying to keep your head above the water, constantly aware that your assessments are slowly creeping up on you. From one panicky student to another, let me give you my best tips on how to handle this stress and how to quickly make everything seem a little more manageable.
EVERYONE FEELS LIKE YOU DO. No one is quite prepared for the content that gets thrown at them in the first couple of weeks of a semester and no one feels prepared for the assessments that we all know are coming. You may find that you have little breakdowns every now and then where you feel that everything is unmanageable and that you have no idea how to tackle your workload, but trust me… everyone is struggling, just like you are. University is there to test us all and to make us proficient in our chosen subjects. In my opinion, if you aren’t stressed about something, you’re not on the right course. Take the stress, take the anger, take the frustration and turn it into motivation.
TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR ASSESSMENT INFORMATION NOW. Chances are, you’ll have been given some sort of a module guide for your first semester modules or you’ll at least be able to view some module information online. My advice would be to take a look at your module information and find out as much as you can about your assessments NOW. I tend to find that, at the beginning of semesters, I attend my lectures, seminars and workshops and take extensive notes without knowing how I need to apply them to any of my assessments. Surely this can’t be useful…? However, if you take a look at the assessment information now, you can focus your reading and your note-taking around your assessments, making your life easier when you actually begin writing them up. Every single note you make will be somehow linked to your assessment and writing your essays will be that much easier.
DO NOT OVERWORK YOURSELF. Okay, I’ll admit… I’m so guilty of this it is unreal. I have never had a problem admitting that I’m a perfectionist and that often, being a perfectionist has its perks. But, it also means that I never feel entirely productive unless I work myself into the ground every single day. This has often made me ill and made my life more difficult in the long run. My advice: find out your limit now and do not exceed this. Setting yourself a reading goal or a daily assessment word-count will make you more productive but over-working yourself will just burn you out. Take regular breaks and step back from your work. You’ll find you can see it with a fresh eye if you distance yourself from it often.
DO NOT WAIT FOR EVERYONE ELSE TO START DOING ASSESSMENTS. It is no secret that University students have made procrastination a talent; it seems that all University students possess this talent of hesitating before beginning assessments. You’ll hear this so many times during your years at University (and I hate to sound like a broken record) but PLEASE start your assessments as soon as possible. I feel that a lot of students postpone their assessments because they feel that they do not yet possess the tools and information to produce anything worthwhile. However, you’ll find if you sit down and look at everything you’ve done, that you do have the tools, you just need to use them.
These are simply my four main tips now that everything is beginning to take shape at University. All of these changes, responsibilities and assessments can be dealt with (and are dealt with) by all students. It’s how you choose to deal with it that matters.
I hope this helps (someone at least!) 😊