Just like that Freshers' Fortnight has been and gone for another semester so that only means one thing; lectures are starting again! Whether you are a new or returning student, it can be difficult to stay on top of everything university throws at you, so today I am some tips to get ahead at the beginning of a new academic year.
This tip I need to follow more myself and that is to read ahead for your modules! In my last post I recommended looking at your reading lists and if you haven’t by now, then you definitely should have a look! For my degree, I need specific editions of the texts I am reading but if you don’t have access to this then reading a different edition first so you know the text is an easy way to stay up to date in classes.
Lecturers can also share non-compulsory texts on your reading list too, which can help if you want to read ahead for the course or if there is an aspect that you are finding difficult to understand.
Look on Brightspace
Brightspace is a useful but underrated tool that contains many resources posted by your lecturers that can help you get ahead with your course content. Many lecturers post slides in advance, so it is worth having a look and downloading the slides so that you can be one step ahead and prepare for your seminars and lecturers effectively throughout the semester.
Get a diary / organiser
If you are anything like myself, then you like to be organised and know what you are doing day by day, and this can be especially useful when it comes to your uni timetable too. If you don’t already, then I would suggest getting a diary or an organiser. It doesn’t have to be a physical diary, it could even be an app on your phone but it is so beneficial to remember what you have to attend each day and what work needs to be done for each event.
Message / talk to / meet up with your course mates
It is a great idea to have a good support network around you when you have a lot of work to do, so keeping in contact with people who feel the same way is a great way to get help and encouragement. If you don’t already have a group chat then this is an easy and low maintenance way to stay in touch with one another that doesn’t need constant attention and can easily be muted during busy periods.
Budget your money for the semester
I am terrible at budgeting but then I wonder why I run out of money, so I definitely suggest finding a method of budgeting that works for you and working with that. I am trying to look at my money each week and planning what I have to spend and what is necessary to buy or not.
If you don’t have a job and are relying on student finance, then it is definitely good to make sure you divide you your money up and don’t over spend as it is best to avoid using your overdraft!
Explore the area
If you haven’t already, it is a great idea to have an explore of the local area to really make yourself feel at home. Knowing the best places to study, eat and drink or socialise are beneficial to enjoying your time at university and there is so much to explore in Ipswich! There are also so many free resources and places to visit in the local area, so it is worth asking some of us locals and having a research of what is around.
I wish you all the best of luck for your first semester and remember to work hard, you've got this!