First semester is in the books and boy has it gone quickly!
It seems like only yesterday that we were lining up to get tickets for the various Fresher’s Week events – now we’re all looking at our timetables and wondering where on earth the time went.
I suspect that whether you spent all your time in the library or the bar, you’re going to be looking at a certain pile of work and thinking “right, this kinda needs to get done now.”
For me, final year of University is bringing about some challenges that I haven’t really experienced before – the pressure is really on this year. The unique structure of my course means that if you have a barnstormer of a final year, your final year marks alone could decide the outcome of your degree. Bearing in mind my second year was never the best for marks… well, no margin for error this time round!
Final year also means, for me, three assignments, an exam and presentation all to do – all due in within the space of ten days. Time management is so underrated right now, along with realising that your social life is non-existent – except for the lonely medical student you always sit next to on the top floor of the library.
Awkward nods and greetings aside, you’re usually on the top floor for a reason: to get that work all finished.
Motivating yourself to get something finished can be easier said than done. After all, getting yourself tagged in various Facebook photos and catching up with the musings of Buzzfeed is far more interesting. That said, soft journalism and the latest batch of photos from ‘Monday Night at Lola’s Nightclub!!!!’ isn’t likely to get your work done, no matter how much you loathe the idea of getting that piece on globalisation done – I’ve been there.
Here are a few things that might help your motivation along and keep the work finished, all in good time
- I’m not advocating shutting down your Facebook for good here – on occasion that time you all conveniently decided to set up a group to do a group project, the place will seem useful. However, there comes a point where all the shared articles and funny photos/memes are going to cause a distraction. One thing I have heard (besides trying not to be tempted into opening it in the first place) is to form a news feed compiled of all the most productive things you can find. Perhaps you follow a particular movement or organisation for graduates. Maybe you know a few people on Facebook who are always posting about their work and how motivated they are? If you form a list of people and pages that will encourage you to get on with your work, you’ll be all the more productive with it. Or, as productive as you can be when distracted with Facebook…
- OK, so this whole student thing of enjoying cheap drinks and discount entry wristbands might have to stop. Allow yourself the occasional night out now and again, but sadly if you haven’t grown out of it by now, it’s time to learn quickly. Remember, it’s not just the night out when you could have been working instead, it’s also the unproductive morning after with the thumping headache that you have to consider too. If you’re anything like me, it’ll last the whole day… Hate to say it, but one feels guilty if you mentally write off a whole because you took advantage of £2 bottles.
Also, don’t be tempted into a post-work/library pint with the boys – they can – and do – escalate. Been there, done that. Regretted it. Be the responsible person and call it a night after you’ve left.
- There’s a certain irony at university. You get several long assignments and there’s often 24h opening times at your library, with support available around the clock. Bear this in mind though: it’s better to get a good day of work done and then some decent hours of sleep than trying to power through the night and live off a diet of caffeine-filled drinks and ProPlus. Besides the come-downs that you’ll hate, you’ll feel well and truly rotten for some time afterwards. It’s also worth noting that, even on a diet of Monster/Relentless/whatever luminous liquid floats your boat, your body cannot function as well as a well-rested and hydrated you. Stick to the best-hydrating fluid out there – water – and make sure you’re reasonable with yourself. You may feel you’re on a roll with your work, but make sure that you call it a day while you’re ahead. We’re all human.
- The obvious point about handing in assignments on time: if you want to hand them in on time then you need to start them on time. If you’ve got sessions specifically dedicated to assignment support, then it means you’re going with something to show and to get analysed – not getting advice so that you can start. Don’t worry about when everyone else is starting either, you work at your own pace and you know what your own strengths and weaknesses are. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a sense of urgency, it just means that you should consider how you work and how you like to get your work done.
Of course, if you’re doing a dissertation and you’ve been given progress deadlines then you obviously need to stick to those to keep the confidence of tutors, but they’re designed to be manageable and straightforward to hit – as long as it’s of a good quality.
Really, deadlines have to be hit and sadly the work side of university is going to start taking charge of your experience. Keep positive, make sure that you are well-motivated, and go out there and do your best!
If nothing else, think of the Christmas break.