Sam is a third year Journalism student and a Student Ambassador for Marketing and our WP team.
If time management has been an issue for you in the past, university is the perfect place to fix that and become more organised as a person. Plus, it is an essential part of getting the most out of your experience.
These five pieces of advice worked very well for me with regards to staying on top of things:
Create a schedule
If you have ever created a timetable for GCSEs or A-Levels or any other activity, you will know that they are super useful for keeping on track. With so much happening, a neat schedule consisting of important classes and other extracurricular activities (like society meetings etc) will ensure you know exactly what is happening when you wake up each morning – giving you opportunities to plan early.
Write down the key dates
Deadlines are an inevitable part of studying. It may reduce your stress levels immensely if you know when work must be handed in and you don’t fall into the trap of finishing a key assignment the night (or even hour) before it is due.
I wrote all of mine down and pinned them on my wall so I would be able to see them each day. This allowed me to manage time according to key deadlines – sometimes putting aside more time to study if I had deadlines approaching and vice versa.
Allocate yourself some ‘downtime’
Though the emphasis may be on the studies, allocating ‘downtime’ during the week is vital to securing a better study-life (and also work) balance. This was an important lesson I learned during my first year and for my future career.
This can simply be an hour each day where you do something you enjoy like reading, watching videos, exercising, or just relaxing in some way that does not involve studying. Allowing rest periods means you should feel energised and ready for your future studies.
Don’t try to do too much
There is a generous amount on offer as a student alongside studying. However, it is possible to do too much which might bring unhealthy implications for your health and mental wellbeing – such as constant tiredness and increased stress. If you find yourself juggling commitments, the output of one (or both) may suffer, e.g. focussing too much on social life and not having enough time to study effectively for a test.
My advice here corresponds with the previous point – it is absolutely fine to have a section of the day with nothing important planned and be able to spend time relaxing.
Enjoy the ride!
Sometimes I felt overwhelmed with how much I had going on, but I learned to enjoy the fast pace of university life.
The challenges I faced on a daily basis (tests and difficult practical tasks) made me able to enjoy my ‘downtime’ and overall university experience a lot more.
I hope you find these tips useful for managing your own time at university. Remember to be patient with the process even if things seem a little hectic at the beginning. Good luck!
Read about Sam’s experience as a Journalism student here.
You can also read the Open University’s tips on time management and UCAS’s study skills guide on time management.
At university you will be assigned a personal tutor who you can check in with to discuss how your work is going and talk through any challenges you might be having. Read about students’ experiences of personal tutors and how they helped here at The Student Room.