It is safe to say that I’m not the greatest university student. I am not super smart and extremely academic, but alas I have been there long enough (just entering 3rd year) to share some tips about organising and the things that I have found most useful.
1. PRINT YOUR UNIT OUTLINE!
Your unit outline is your bible, take it to class carry it around learn it, live it, breath it. Hopefully you have a good unit outline, I have had some that aren’t very well detailed, it should give you a run down of due dates and what topics will be covered in each week.
2. WALL CALENDAR
these are my saving grace! I have on above my desk and it is constantly a good source of motivation. I bought this from Kikki K years ago, they have similar pads in stock all year.
3. COLOUR CODING
I’m a visual person, colours represent a big part of my cognitive processes.
I colour code my folders, the pens I use in my diary, page flags, even my assignment title pages are in the same colour as the ‘unit colour’
4. ELECTRONIC VS WRITTEN
This is a big topic, however I will say there are pros and cons to using both methods. I have tried both and almost every other system over organising notes, I find that personally I work much better with writing my notes. I tend to remember more once I have written it down. I once read that you are more likely to retain information you have written down as there is a connection between muscle memory and the brain.
Another tip, which admittedly does throw out the colour coding system, is to highlight in orange. Apparently the brain significantly remembers more if important information is in orange.
5. GET A DIARY
It goes without saying, get yourself a diary. Use a paper based or electronic system, completely up to you. But knowing when things are due is essential!
I love my Filofax, it is my bible…I even scale down my unit outlines, print them and punch them to put into my Filofax.
6. CREATE A STUDYING ROUTINE
Hopefully, you have created your timetable, fingers crossed you got the classes you wanted – it is always such a struggle.
I like to create a study routine,
i.e Monday mornings – drive to uni early and before class complete readings for xyz, Wednesday afternoon read chapters for subject abc.
I try my hardest to stick to it – but if it gets sidelined don’t beat yourself up over it.
7. STUDY IN THE SAME PLACE
Something I have learnt in my time as a uni student, is that I’m not very productive at home. I am more productive in the library of my campus. I also have this habit of studying for one subject in one area of the library and studying for another subject in another area of the library. You could really apply this to any setting – find an area that is productive for the work you need to do. Although on tip is not to sit in the library when writing an essay and you want to sing. #truestory
I adore music, it is always a key factor in my day. I’m always the girl with her headphones in when sitting alone. Find some form of music that doesn’t distract you too much, but is enough that there is no deafening silence. Silence almost kills me! I need some form of noise. I find that radio stations like Triple J are great, they play a wide range of music, most of it you probably wouldn’t have heard of so it is a good background noise to have.
9. NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE USE OF COFFEE
There is a comforting warmth of wrapping your hands around a mug (or in most of my cases a paper cup) full of coffee. It is the pick me up in my day. I must say that university coffee is fantastic, they know we are all stressed out and need a big caffeine hit, and it is usually the cheapest coffee you will find!
And you can play the game of ‘how will they spell my name this time’ – you can follow me on instagram to see how my progress is going lol.
10. GET TO KNOW YOUR TEACHERS
I must admit, I was very shy starting university. It was a whole new experience, I had no friends there and really wasn’t 100% sure I what was going on. I felt sorry for the teachers asking questions to a unresponsive class, so I stuck my head up to answer a question.
The great thing is that teachers appreciate the input, it makes their job easier. Even if you are wrong in the answer you provide, it creates momentum for the teaching staff. I have always tried to form a good basis of a relationship with the teaching staff. They are one of the key factors in your success of the unit. I have been lucky enough to rotate through a handful of teaching staff that teach the units in my degree so having that relationship is a great help.
On that note an important thing to remember is the trial and error is the only way you can find a method that suits you. Although I do love a good suggestion, if you have any send them my way.