Our student writer Taz shares her own advice for keeping that all important work-life balance…
Easing into your studies
Now that the excitement of Freshers’ Week is over, and the reality of having to attend lectures has hit, it is possible that you may be starting to feel slightly overwhelmed by the change in routine. However, whilst this is typical for first year students, there are many steps you can take to ensure that you stay on top of your studies and make the most of your degree.
- Attend all of your lessons (lectures and seminars). Reading the lecture slides may be practical, but only 50% of the information you need to gain a sufficient understanding of the topic will be on the slides. You need the lecturers’ input too!
- Keep an organised log of your work. Maintaining a consistent note-taking routine will prepare you for your Part 1 exams and provide you with valuable material which will help you throughout your degree.
- Don’t leave assignments until the last minute. Getting into a habit of completing assignments well in advance will serve you well for Parts 2 and 3. Starting the project in plenty of time will allow you to plan and gather the right sources to produce a high quality final product.
Engage in extra-curricular activities
Taking up a new hobby, sport or becoming a member of a university scheme is highly recommended during your first year to not only keep you engaged in university life, but to avoid experiencing any feelings of boredom or homesickness. There are hundreds of societies, sport and non-sport related, at Reading: many of which are still welcoming new members. Details of these can be found on the RUSU website. Equally, if you’d like to get involved in something more course or career related you can also join schemes such as Students in Schools and The RED Award; both of which are huge assets to your CV. Likewise, for those of you interested in media, marketing or journalism, the university’s media streams, The Spark Newspaper and Junction 11 Radio, are ideal student-led societies to get involved in.
Know your limits
Whilst students like to think that they’ll stick to the organised routine they begin in their first term, habits such as cramming revision notes the couple of nights before an exam or pulling an all-nighter to finish an assignment may also arise. And although these habits are often unavoidable when it comes to attending Wednesday Union, or binge-watching a favourite Netflix series with flat mates, it’s a good thing to remember that making some sacrifices earlier on in the term could help to avoid these last-minute panics.
It’s a good idea to keep a calendar or diary where you can to jot down assignment deadline and exam dates. This will help with planning your studies to ensure that you don’t overload yourself with work.
Following these tips will help you to establish a balanced routine as well as helping you to set yourself a strong path for the rest of your university experience. Best of luck!