With the start of semester one just around the corner, we list five tips to help you succeed this academic year.
Use your calendar: It sounds obvious, but the easiest way to keep track of your important dates and assessments is to write everything in your calendar. Most institutions give you a student diary at the start of each year that you can carry with you to class, but the calendar on your laptop or phone also works well. Start by making note of each academic week so you can easily see where you are in the semester, then go through your subject guides to add assessment due dates or when important lectures, classes, guest speakers or excursions take place.
Design a timetable that suits you: If you’re not a morning person and you’ve picked an 8 am tutorial, or you’ve managed to leave yourself a six-hour break between classes, you’ll find that you’re more prone to start skipping classes as the semester goes on. Taking time to strategically plan your weekly schedule will help you keep your attendance up in the long run. This means looking through draft timetables to determine the best combination of classes — be it cramming everything into the least amount of days possible, making sure you’re with your friends or scheduling all your classes after midday. You’ll also have to make note of when your institution’s timetabling service opens so you don’t miss out on your preferred classes.
Seek support when you need it: It’s important to seek help with issues you are experiencing, no matter how big or small. Perhaps you’re struggling to get your head around a new referencing system or are unsure of where you went wrong in your assignment. Maybe you are having second thoughts about one of your subjects or are questioning if university study is really for you. Whatever the issue, seek help early before stress starts to really build up.
Visit the library: It’s not uncommon to find students in their final year of study who are still yet to step foot in their institution’s library. You probably think you can find everything online, but the library is an invaluable resource during the research process. And despite the reputation they gain on TV, library staff are usually very willing to help you with any queries you may have — from sourcing books and journals for your assignment to accessing online databases. Some institutions will even have specific collections for different fields of study, which can cut down your research time significantly.
- Get used to working as a team: One big difference you’ll notice from secondary school to tertiary study is the amount of group work that tends to be present in the latter — particularly in your first year. It’s no secret that while some groups work really well together, others tend to fall apart and you’ll find most students have at least one horror story of a group project gone wrong. Love it or hate it, group work is something you’re going to have to accept — during your study years and beyond. If you tend to take over, make an effort to listen to some of the quieter members of the group; if you’ve been known to take a back seat in group projects, try to contribute your fair share of work. As these are the people you’ll likely be working with in the future, you don’t want to gain a bad reputation early.