4 TIPS FOR ADAPTING TO INDEPENDENT STUDY
I think that, more so than other year, congratulations are in order! Firstly, you got the grades to get into a great university. Secondly, you chose an excellent student accommodation company. And, thirdly, you’ve made it to said university despite a global pandemic! “Surely the hard part is over,” I hear you thinking. Well…now you just have to do the whole university thing! Have no fear though, I am here to help out and give you four fabulous tips on how to adapt to a life of studying in a place where there are (sadly?) no guardians watching over your shoulder to make sure that your pile of work does not grow too high.
Tip 1: Regular trips to the library
This may sound like a very obvious idea but making sure that you regularly attend your university library really does help! Libraries are not only filled with useful materials but also often provide an excellent environment to learn in. Why not fill your spare time between lectures with some note consolidation or reading to save yourself some time in the long run? Also, it may be tempting to just write your essays from the confines of your room (or bed) but sitting upright in a library really can help you get into a more focused mental space so you can produce quality work.
Tip 2: Make a schedule and stick to it!
Throughout school and university schedules have always been a life saver for me. If, like me, you love being involved in lots of different activities then timetables are a great way of fitting a social life around your work schedule. If you’re a tech wiz you may want to keep track of everything on your phone or laptop and go crazy with colours and codes. However, if you’re more traditional you can always stick up a hand crafted timetable on your pin-up board!
Tip 3: Revision notes/flash cards after each lecture ready for the exam season
Regardless of what subject you are studying at University I assure you that flashcards will be useful at some point! If you are studying a foreign language they are great for vocab. With mathematics you can write out common equations or formulae. Or, if you’re doing medicine, you can test yourself on anatomy. It may seem time consuming but it really does help in the end!
Additionally, when studying I always wrote notes by hand during lectures and then typed them up afterwards. Especially for humanities subjects, this is a great way to ensure that you are able to Cntrl+F that pesky quote that you can’t quite remember for your essays.
Tip 4: Form a study group
Have you ever seen the television show Community? Well, when you’re forming a study group, maybe try not to make one like that. In all seriousness, forming a study groups is a great ways to learn whilst also being vaguely sociable. Whether you want to meet in a bare study room, with as few distractions as possible, or a café, with the option of refreshments, having a couple of people around you can help motivate you when your brain begins to frazzle.
University life can be extremely busy and it can take a little while to adjust to a new schedule of studying and social engagements but it’s all about finding a balance. Whether or not your grades in first year contribute to your overall degree, a strong foundation of knowledge is invaluable for the future. Also, more than any other year, it’s worth staying up to date with your work just in case there are any future lockdowns – though there are hopefully not any more!
By Ilona Cabral
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