People often think that uni students have it easy, going to classes a couple of times a week and spending the rest of their time lazing around doing nothing. In actual fact, this is far from the truth for many students. Even if you are technically a ‘full-time student’, it’s likely you’re combining study with a number of other commitments. It can be hard to find a healthy balance between life and study, so we offer some of our best tips below.
Plan a schedule
You’ll have been advised time and time again not to leave assignments till the last minute, but staying on top of everything can be tricky — regardless of whether or not you procrastinate. When you have multiple assessments due at the same time, it can be hard to delegate enough time for each task. Your best option is to sit down and plan out the semester ahead and make note of when everything is due, along with other commitments such as work or events. Consider how much time you will need to spend on each assessment and determine what you can start early and which tasks can or need to be left to a later date. It’s also a good idea to let others in your household know when you will be busy with study so they can give you your space and not spring last-minute plans on you.
Setting goals is a great way to motivate yourself for the semester ahead. You may aim to improve your marks, get involved on campus or simply finish tasks by a certain date — perhaps to keep you on track or because you would like to have assessments completed before an upcoming event. If you need help setting goals or discussing how you’d like to improve academically, you can chat to an academic adviser on campus.
While you may be tempted to hide in the back corner and keep to yourself, going to classes and lectures is a lot more enjoyable if you know there will be some familiar faces to chat to — so don’t be afraid to strike up a conversation and introduce yourself to the person next to you. Your classmates will be battling the same assessments and deadlines and can offer support and motivation. You may choose to organise a group study session, or plan a celebratory dinner or night out after big assessments are due.
Know your limits
You might be reluctant to forgo your usual commitments once classes start, instead cramming study and classes into your already busy schedule. While you may succeed initially, it’s important to recognise when you have too much on your plate. If you’re struggling to stay on top of your studies, you may need to consider cutting back on work commitments or saying no to the occasional social outing. Likewise, it’s also important to identify when you need a break. If you find you’ve hit a wall with your essay or keep reading the same sentence over and over again, allow yourself some time to clear your head. Taking a day or afternoon off, or even just going for a walk or grabbing something to eat, can do wonders for your productivity.
Look after yourself
Making time for friends, family, study and work is important, but you should also make sure you still have time to look after yourself. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep each night and try to find time for exercise throughout the week. Although it’s tempting to reach for unhealthy snacks or order takeout, you should also try to stick to a healthy diet. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help alleviate stress and stop you from burning out as the semester progresses.