The new academic year is almost here, and whether it’s your first semester at university or your third, we know that after a long summer of enjoying time off with your friends, it can be difficult to make the switch back into work mode! We’ve come up with a few simple tips and tricks to ensure that you’re ready for the new term, and to help you get the most out of your time at uni.
If this is your first time heading to university, you’ll no doubt have hit Wilko and IKEA to stock up on all the household essentials you’ll need, but also think about what you’ll need to take to your lectures and seminars, and how else you can be organised and ready to get stuck in to your course.
Organisation is key: you’ll need to take notes, so either bring your laptop or a notebook along with you, as well as basic stationary and other tools you might need for your degree subject, like a calculator.
Timekeeping is also really important at university: you might find it useful to have a planner, so you can keep track of deadlines and important course dates. You might also be able to link your university timetable to the calendar app on your phone, so you know what’s on your plate each day.
If it’s your first semester on campus, take some time off from partying with your friends during Freshers to explore where you’ll be having your lectures and seminars, so you don’t end up frantically dashing around trying to find your lecture theatre at 9am on your first day! If you’re heading back for your second or third year, and you’ve moved into a new student house, check to see how long it will take you to get to campus from your new house. You might need to take a new bus route or walk to campus, so it’s worth checking timings before your first day back.
While going back to university and seeing all of your friends again can be exciting, the prospect of upcoming deadlines and all the work you’ll need to do might also feel a bit daunting. Some level of stress is a normal part of life at university, but if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or struggling to keep up with your workload, this can have a big impact on your health. If you’re struggling with anxiety or stress, get in touch with the student welfare department of your university - it’s their job to help, and they can advise you on ways to manage your workload, or re-arrange deadlines where possible.
Working hard is part and parcel of getting your degree, but taking care of yourself will mean that you can work to the best of your ability whilst still staying healthy. Along with your coursework, make time to see your friends and do things you enjoy. Try to get outside or exercise whenever you can: exercise and fresh air really do make a big difference to your wellbeing, so even if you don’t feel like going to the gym, there are little things you can do every day to help release those feel-good endorphins. Get off at an earlier stop on your bus route and walk part of the way home, or take the stairs instead of the lift.
Simple changes to your routine, such as drinking plenty of water (around 6 - 8 glasses of fluid per day is recommended by the NHS), and eating a balanced diet, can make a big difference to how you feel. It’s also important to get plenty of rest (around 7 - 9 hours is recommended for young adults), so try to go to sleep around the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. Have set times during the day dedicated to working, sleeping, eating, and socialising. Having a routine will help you to be able to concentrate during times where you need to work, and to switch off when it’s time to finish for the day.
We hope that this blog post has given you some ideas of easy ways you can prepare for heading back to uni. We hope you have a great year.