A new year of students are about to enrol in university courses and enter the realm of post-school life. It’s an exciting time; but it’s also an important period when it comes to organisation. Uni life moves quickly, and you’re going to have to be on the ball if you want to schedule the perfect timetable. Here are some tips going forward.
So many first-year students enter university life thinking they will be proactive students who rise early and smash out early morning classes. It’s the honeymoon period, and it diminishes quickly. Within weeks, these 8am lectures become incredibly easy to skip and your timetable goes from productive to being an obstacle to your education. If you know you can’t maintain a busy day or two full of early classes, then don’t enter these early classes into your preferences. Uni timetables account for your freedom, so use it and ensure you’ll actually rock up to your classes.
Account for work and travel time
If you’ve worked out that you’re a morning person and you can smash out morning classes for an entire semester, that’s great. You’ll also need to consider is how much time you’ll need to get into campus so you aren’t one of those embarrassed late-comers (trust me, there are plenty in the first few weeks). The main reason this happens is because students haven’t considered that an 8am class means getting on a train or bus at 7 in order to arrive on time. This also applies for any employment you may have – consider how long it takes to get back to your workplace from your campus, and don’t impact yourself by making yourself late for work due to a poorly-planned timetable.
Space your classes out over a few days
A common piece of advice is to cram all subjects into one or two days so that you get more weekdays off to relax and socialise. While this sounds well and good, having a loaded day of classes can soon turn to hell. A full day of tutorials and lectures can easily turn your idea of uni from fun and interesting to a hated place of obligation. Most importantly, it can make it easier to skip entire subjects on a weekly basis.
You’ll have to go into campus more often, but pushing your schedule out to three or more days of 2–3 classes at a time may make you relax and enjoy the uni environment much more.
Avoid big breaks between classes
It’s easy to do — one class at 10am, then another at 3pm — plenty of time to study, right? The reality is you don’t often need this time, especially in the first half of a semester. Having such a big break between classes is often a pain, as you are left on campus bored and waiting for time to pass. My first semester included one class at 9am and another at 3.30pm — you can imagine how bored I was by the end of the day, especially when I felt like I was missing out on things because I had to stay on campus the entire afternoon.
Try not to give yourself more than a two-hour break between classes, and preferably have this break over lunch time so you can go and wind down over some food.
Be prepared and get in early
This is the final point for when you are planning your timetable. Keep an eye out on the important dates around timetable preferences and adjustment. You might be organising a perfect timetable, but if you are late to these deadlines, you’ll end up with a random mix of allotted classes that can be dreadful. Whatever time the adjustments or preferences open, log on 15 minutes earlier and be ready. The time flies, and sites are known to crash. If you get in first, you’ve got a great chance of securing the dream timetable.