Steps to becoming a better student at university
University can be quite a scary place on the first impression – from a student perspective you are entering a whole new world full of new faces that you’ve never seen before. But primarily, it is important to remember why you are there. Aside from the Freshers and the fantastic parties that university has to offer, a university is a place where you better yourself and study a field that you are truly interested in. For most individuals, the university offers a safe haven where one can personally develop themselves beyond their career choice.
University often changes people’s lives for the better whereby students discover traits they never knew they had as well as it is an institution that provides an abundance of opportunities. So, how can you prepare yourself to become the student that you were destined to be at university?
- Always go to class – it doesn’t matter how you feel in the morning, even if it is after a night out, you have to make sure that you make it. Take your notepad with you and a pen and take notes. Be keen and ready to learn. Always remember that notetaking is extremely valuable – despite how you may feel at a certain time you can always reflect back and study your notes again. Be visibly attentive as much as possible. If you must miss a class, then ensure you e-mail your lecturer in advance and explain the situation.
- Balance your studies and your work lifestyle – if you’re like most students that work while studying, make sure that you have a good balance between the two. The last thing you want to do is overwork in your job whereby you cannot fully pay attention in your studies. Your job is not an end in itself but a way for you to go to university and maybe funding your lifestyle.
- Be prepared for all of your assignments, and if you’re not, be sure to ask questions – being prepared is crucial. A lot of students feel embarrassed to ask their tutor or lecturer what to do after they have explained it, but it is perfectly normal to feel confused. For many people, digesting information on the first instance is rare or often hazy. Asking questions shows that you are keen to not give up and that you take your studies seriously.
- Read and study in peace – make sure that you read as much as you can. Information in means that information can come out and broadens your knowledge, beyond belief. Always take time out in a quiet place and grab your book. Reading should be done in a place that is peaceful; an environment that you find tranquil and comforting. Don’t worry about entertaining anyone; just take your studies and your reading seriously by placing yourself in the right location.
- Take regular breaks and allow yourself enough time – make sure that you take time out between your studying intervals. Having breaks is essential in allowing yourself to digest what it is you have just learnt. A general rule is two hours of study time for each hour of class so try and not over-do it. Make sure that you finish assignments in time for checking, don’t put pressure on yourself by leaving assignments to last minute and rushing the night before.
- Take advantage of your lecturers, their expertise and their time – know your lecturer’s office hours and times that they can allocate private meeting slots to you. One recommended piece of advice is to arrange a one-to-one meeting with your course leader as frequent as possible to gain insiders knowledge and intimate advice. Talk to these people, they have interest in helping you succeed…that is why they are there!
- Make the most of the library – knowledge is in books and not on the Wikipedia. It is important to not rely heavily on technology to give you all the answers. It is true that we live in an advanced world full of technological developments, however, consider your university education a bibliography for the rest of your life.
- Be sure to socialise and have time for yourself – the best students are well-rounded, and this is because they know how to look after themselves. They enjoy themselves and work hard at the same time. After working hard, it is rewarding to go out and you may find that you will enjoy yourself even more after passing your coursework or an exam. Join campus organisations/clubs too, these can be very beneficial for making friends and widening your social network.
Written by Gemma Smith