Tips for University: The Education Part

Friday, 21 August 2015

Ah education. The part of university, that very few people actually go to university for. Before I went to university I didn't even think about the subjects I would be learning about. For me it was just about the exciting nights out and the exciting people and having my own room and all that. The actual lectures and seminars didn't really matter to me because first year didn't count anyway. But trust me, it pays to try just a little in your first year. So here it is, tips for getting through the education part of university.

1. Actually attend all your lectures 

This is probably quite hypocritical coming from me but definitely try to attend all your lectures. I missed so much content and subsequently failed several modules making second year a much more stressful time for me. You might think it's pointless going to them all, especially on that morning where you have to be in at nine and you've only have three hours sleep and might still be drunk. But if nothing else you learn important note-taking techniques because lecturers aren't going to slow down for you.

2. Do the reading in advance

For English I was obviously required to read full novels so what I tried to do was to get reading lists in the summer and read the books in the summer. This only worked for a handful of modules but it helped massively. Try to email your tutors and see if they can recommend any reading if not the set reading for that module. Also I tried to do weekly reading as soon as it was set. So on the day that I had that lecture, I'd try to do next weeks reading that evening. It's important to get a head start on this because towards the end of the term you'll have a massive amount of work to do and you don't want to be catching up on reading on top of that.

3. Organise yourself at the beginning

Create an organized system of keeping your notes together. Whether you prefer to hand-write all your notes or type them on the computer, create a filing system that you can understand easily. When it comes to revising or writing essays it'll make it much easier to access the information that you need. Also get a planner. Write down all the times when you have lectures and seminars. Write down deadlines and then write down non-university dates such as birthdays or times when you're going back home. By doing this you can figure out what free-time you have and when you can dedicate your hours to studying.

4. Begin assignments early

I imagine you're getting the gist of this now that the overall tip is to start early but if you're one of the subjects that get your essay questions or assignments at the beginning of the semester, look at it straight away. See what takes your fancy and mark these questions. Start researching around that subject. I wouldn't suggest starting the actual assignment right away because chances are the lecture you have won't be until later on but certainly start making notes to make things easier on yourself. In doing this, it'll take the pressure off later down the line when you have a whole lot of deadlines in the same week.

5. Talk to people in your subject 

This tip is part education and part social. By talking to people in your group and trying to make friends, you have people that you can talk to and maybe make study groups with if you're finding a particular subject hard. I found that talking about the topic usually inspired new ideas and helped me to understand it much better than if I had just sat in my room and worried in my head. Also, you get new friends so that's a plus!

So generally start early, and organise. I know that first year can be difficult but this it the time when you're allowed to learn and more importantly, allowed to make mistakes.

Thanks for reading! 

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