The winter break is a time of celebration, relaxation and catching up with friends and family. Therefore it can be really difficult to get back in to study mode once the new term starts particularly when it’s cold and dark outside. For most students, January is a busy time with exams and assessments and it can be stressful trying to meet those all important deadlines. However help is at hand and Student Advisor Rosie has shared her top strategies to achieve study success in the New Year.
Take on responsibilities responsibly
Starting two new part time jobs at the end of the year has helped me to balance my time more accordingly and prioritise tasks in my schedule. However, I often pile the pressure on myself to overachieve, do everything and be everywhere at once which is unrealistic and causes me to spend a long time on some things and rush other things to get them done on time. This year I want to ensure that I am realistic with my expectations of myself and how much I can get done in a day without any all night study sessions.
Remember that doing even a little something is better than nothing
The pressure I put on myself to do as well as I have done so far and hit new targets has resulted in some all or nothing thinking, if I can’t do everything I panic, procrastinate and do almost nothing! This year I need to recognise that I can still achieve my best and be less stressed if I take some pressure off myself and do things bit by bit rather than all at once.
Read through my notes
Reading through my notes at the end of a busy day once lectures and seminars are over has really helped me to retain a lot of information I might have otherwise forgotten. I want to make sure that I am reading over the notes I have taken in that day so that when I need a piece of information for an assessment I can find it easier.
Practice makes perfect
Practicing skills such as referencing, formatting and proofreading has helped me to improve my skills as an academic writer and achieve good grades. This is a habit I want to keep up this year by putting this skills into practice so that I can improve on them, I also want to take all my feedback on my assessments into account when developing these skills.
Maintain 100% attendance at lectures and seminars
So far this academic year I have 100% attendance at lectures and seminars which has really helped me a lot more than I thought it would. I haven’t missed out on any content or necessary information and I have been able to stay up to date with reading and develop a broader and deeper understanding of my subject by asking questions and engaging with others, this is something I definitely want to maintain for the rest of the year.
Stay on top of reading and do extra reading if I can
So far I have managed to stay on top of my reading lists and do a bit of wider reading for each week, this has helped me when it comes to developing my understanding, making contributions in class discussions and when it comes to planning for assessments.
Plan ahead for assessments
I want to ensure that I plan ahead for assessments allowing myself enough time to plan, draft, edit and proofread so that when deadlines are approaching I’m not as rushed and anxious.
Break down big goals into small daily tasks
Thinking about big goals this year such as my final assessments and my third year dissertation have been quite daunting as well as thinking about how much is going to change this year and where I want to be after I graduate in the summer has been overwhelming. What has really helped me is keeping in mind that none of this will happen overnight and I can make it happen by working at it day by day rather than stressing about everything all at once. Making a list of short term, mid term and long term goals has put me back in control of my anxiety about the future and makes changes seem a little less scary and a lot more exciting.
Make sure to use my academic planner and stay organised
This year I have invested in an academic planner so that I can write things down and have all the dates and deadlines I need to remember in one place. It has also helped to have these dates saved digitally in a calendar app on my phone that syncs all my calendars together so I easily keep track of everything at once. I’m hoping that this will improve my time management and organisational skills as well as help me to stay on track of my personal development.
Book on more UniSkills workshops/webinars
The Uniskills webinars I’ve engaged with so far this year have helped me improve my academic writing skills, research skills and critical thinking skills which are really important in my final year as I write my dissertation. I want to engage with more Uniskills workshops so that I can learn how to improve my study habits and develop more useful academic writing skills.
Reach out for help and support
The past year has thrown a lot of challenges and difficult circumstances my way which have been tough to deal with alongside my studies. I have always found it difficult to reach out for help and support when I’ve been struggling. This year I learnt the importance of being honest with myself and others when I need a bit of extra support so that even if I’m finding things hard to deal with I can still achieve my best. To have the support put in place that will help me to fulfil my potential even when things are trying has helped so much. This year I want to ensure that I check in with myself and that I reach out to Student Support, the Inclusion Team and Uniskills who have all been very helpful when it comes to providing me with study support.
Rebuild my confidence in my work
Because things have been tough on my mental health I have lost a lot of confidence in myself and my abilities, despite my good grades I still feel as though I’m not doing my best. I want to engage more with the Uniskills toolkits and workshops on Academic Resilience and Positive Study Habits which will help me take control of procrastination and burnout and encourage me to rebuild my confidence in myself and my academic abilities.
Incorporate fun and relaxing activities into my schedule alongside work
This year I want to establish a healthy routine that incorporates both fun and restful activities in between work and assessments as well as focusing more on self-care in-between study sessions so that I don’t spend all my time working and spend more time taking care of myself to avoid academic burn out so that I can achieve top grades and look after myself.
Look forward to what lies ahead
One thing I always want to keep in mind this year is hope for the future, in the uncertainty and hardship I’ve faced this last year there has also been a lot of good that has helped me to realise that things can definitely change for the better and change doesn’t always have to be scary! I want to set new goals for myself and take control of my worries so that I can really enjoy the things I’m enthusiastic about learning.
By Rosie Sumner (3rd year BA Hons English Literature)