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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 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 on
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 first and second year
(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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