Part 2: Keeping up with your studies
Before we start the academic year a lot of us have this perfect idea in our heads of all the work we are going to do and
how we will be on top of everything all the time. Although this is a great aspiration, it rarely ever holds true throughout the whole year because most of the time life just gets in the way and there is nothing wrong with that!
But there are ways to limit the stress of studying, keep on track and cope with what life throws at you along the way. I’ve found the key is to start early. If I could give one bit of advice to other students it would be start making notes and/or revision material as early on in the year as possible.
The method I use to get all my notes done starts with printing of the lecture notes the weekend before they happen. I have a read, do some extra reading around the subject and then take the printed notes into class with me. As I already have the printed notes, if the lecturer adds something or says something of worth I then write it down underneath the relevant slide. This saves me time as the lecturers move so quickly! Then for each module I have a specific notebook (most likely a Muji…) which I write-up in neat all the necessary notes. I then go through these notes and pick out key information which I write onto a revision card. I then use the revision cards to refresh my memory of the topic and use the notes as an extra reference. This is quite a long-winded method, but for me it pays off. It’s all about finding something that works for you.
Another way to keep on top of your studies is to create a topic list for each module. Once you have completed a topic and written up the notes you can tick it off, then when it comes to revision you know you already have the correct notes. You can find free, excellent quality topic list printable online which saves you time, or you can make your own to fit your specific requirements.
Integrating your studies into daily life is another way to keep on top of them. What I mean by this is you find ways to mix studying with everyday activities. An example would be meeting course mates for a coffee whilst discussing topics from that days lecture or whilst travelling home get out your notes and read them (if possible). All these little things add up to help you achieve your goals.
Even though keeping up with your studies is primarily down to you, being organised and being focused, do not do it all in solitude. Ask your lecturers for help, get them to explain things until you understand it! Ask older students, ask fellow classmates, ask anyone you think could help as you have nothing to lose. You can even dm me on instagram @diaryofaphysicist and I’ll see if I can help! If you do not ask, you will never know, so there is no harm in trying.
More importantly, if there is something going on in your life that means you cannot study as much as you would like, go see the university advice and counselling department, they are there to help you and can give you suggestions in how to cope with an issue. It’s not your fault you cannot study, so don’t carry it on your shoulders like it is! The staff are there to help and will try there best to get you back on track with your studies when you can.
I hope you have enjoyed part 2 of time management, it’s a bit more anecdotal but that’s because it is something I have battled with myself all through academia! The final part to this series will be on acheiveing a good work life balance, this will be posted in the coming days.