If you think that student life is all work and no play, forget what you’ve heard! Even in the most theory-heavy and time-consuming courses, it’s still possible to do well in your classes and have fun at the same time.
Don’t believe us? Read on as we show you how.
Work out your action plan
‘Doing well’ is very subjective — after all, everyone has different expectations of themselves. Once you know what doing well means for you, it’s easier to think about how you’ll get there and put an appropriate plan into action. It also helps if you have a goal in mind for the end of your course, such as gaining entry into an honours program or landing a graduate position. When you know what you’re aiming for, it’s a lot easier to stay motivated and keep yourself going — even when you find yourself studying on a Saturday night. It’s much easier to fit your life in around your studies when you know you’re on track to achieve your goal.
Manage your assessment stress levels
If you tend to get stressed when homework and assessments pile up (and who doesn’t?), think about how you can manage your stress levels. If written assignments are your weakness, the key is to plan ahead. Take note of the due date and plan out when you’ll conduct your research, when you’ll put together your draft and when you’ll edit your work. If exams worry you, set aside some time to plan out when you will cover each assessable topic and remember to ask your lecturer or tutor for assistance if you need a refresher of something covered in class. It also helps to inject some fun into your study routine — why not study with friends or plan an unconventional study session, perhaps at the beach or a local park?
Avoid social hibernation
Balancing commitments is an important lesson of student life. During semester, this means finding time for work and study, but also your social life. Remember that choosing to study and social hibernation don’t go hand in hand, no matter how intensive your coursework may be. Exams and assignments can make catching up with friends a little tough, but not impossible, so long as you manage your time effectively and keep up with your studies. In fact, meeting up with friends is a great temporary study escape and can help to alleviate stress.
Showing up to compulsory classes (and running for the door the minute they end) isn’t what student life is about. The best way to have fun in your course is to get involved, so why not investigate some of the extracurricular options on campus? You’ll find groups dedicated to just about anything — from academics to surprisingly niche hobby groups. There will also be opportunities to sign up for student committees (to organise the faculty ball, for instance) or to gain some experience related to your course. If you’re majoring in politics, for example, you could consider running in the student election. If you’re studying communications, look for opportunities to write for the student magazine. Look out for work experience programs too — time and time again, graduates report that these opportunities were a highlight of their course experience. It won’t hurt to have these experiences on your resume, either.
Staying active doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym for hours each day, but it definitely helps to do some exercise throughout the week. Staying fit is not only great for your physical health but also gives your brain a boost, which is particularly helpful when you’re drowning in assessments. Another plus is that it helps to alleviate stress (even if you can only commit to a quick jog around the block every second day). You’ll also find that many institutions — most universities and a number of TAFEs and private providers — have gyms and wellness centres on campus, which usually offer discounted student rates and much of the same services you’d find at your local fitness centre, such as personal trainers and group classes.