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Managing Workload at University

Starting a new course at university can feel like you’re a small fish in a huge pond, and the workload piling on doesn’t make this any easier. It doesn’t have to be as daunting as it seems though, and I found that keeping organised and managing workload at university removed unnecessary stress and worry from my university life.
Keeping a date diary
 
Keeping a diary or filofax with all your due dates and assignments is a really great way to keep on top of things. I’d often write two weeks before an assignment (or longer if I needed longer to prepare!) in as well as the due date, which is really great for reminding you when you’ve got loads all due in at the same time. It’s also a great way to keep track of social events and other plans. I used to track when I did something social in my diary and if I hadn’t done anything for a while it’d remind me to book loads of stuff with my friends. It’s so easy to lose track of time and get buried under your work, so it’s really important to make sure you have some ‘off’ time too!
 
Physical organisation is just as important as mental!
 
Whilst it is important to know when all your work is due in, having physical space that isn’t dominated by work is a great way to manage your time effectively. Granted if you just have one room it can be hard to have designated ‘work’ areas, but a lot of students head to the library for this reason. I personally prefer being in my pjs surrounded by my own stuff, but having storage boxes or folders that work can be stowed away in can really help you create a balance between chilled and work time. When you’re working to a deadline it can be so easy to let your social life die (third years will sympathise with this one!) but I found that working non-stop can be just as detrimental as not working at all. After all, getting a good work-life balance will serve you well throughout your life, and university is a great opportunity to get that skill in the bag!
 
Making the most of office hours
 
I never really made the most of office hours with my tutors until my last year. I really kick myself for not going in the first and second years (although I did go see my personal tutor a lot throughout the three years). You can improve your grades so much just by taking the time they give, and although they can be daunting when you don’t have much to say, making use of the time they’re willing to give can really bring your grades on leaps and bounds as they share so much extra information, knowledge and advice that they just don’t have time to fit into your lectures and seminars.
I always used to hate how people said that student life was a ‘doss’ and that we just sat around all day doing nothing. Yes, university has
a huge amount of free time and fun stuff that you can’t do whilst you’re in a full-time job, but the workload is far more concentrated and intense than you’d ever get in your normal 9-5. The phrase ‘work hard, play hard’ is totally overused but really does apply to the university mentality.
It’s intense but it’s a one thing you’ll never experience again so make the most of it!

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