The start of semester is now here, for some of you this is a brand new exciting adventure, for others it is a slightly agonising process of dragging yourself back into university mode after the lovely, yet lengthy summer holidays. Whichever group you belong to, the university is going to be a bit hectic, especially during the first few weeks.
New students will be running around trying to find their feet, struggling to find classes, teachers and where to get a decent coffee. Old students will most likely be trying to avoid the busyness, and groaning at the excessive amount of time it has taken them to find a car park, leaving them precious minutes to dash to their lecture.
Both groups will possibly be feeling quite overwhelmed, and a little stressed out. It is important at the start of the semester to get a little organised — make a game plan for your studies, and how that is going to work in with your social and work life. You need to know what the important things to be aware of are, and who to talk to if you are starting to struggle.
The most important thing to remember is if you are struggling, or have any queries, or concerns: ask. It doesn’t matter if you are a new student, or a returning student. The best thing to do if you don’t know something, are unsure, or just need to discuss something is to ask, and talk to someone about things.
No one ever really jumps for joy when they hear the phrase ‘time management’, but it is an important part of succeeding at university, and not only university but life in general. It doesn’t have to be the horrendous task that it is made out to be — you can start out small, buy a diary and write down when all your assessments are due, and block out deliberate time to work on that task. Unfortunately, assessments don’t write themselves. Remember that time is the currency of life, so spend it wisely!
Another important thing to keep in mind at university is the need to maintain a social life. Being a university student should also be a social experience. You can meet new people and form friendships with individuals who have similar interests to you. Don’t be afraid to get involved! Become part of the university community, and I guarantee it will make your whole university experience that much more enjoyable!
This leads me to my final piece of advice: be aware of yourself. Self-care is vital. Know your limits, and make sure that you take care of yourself. If you start to struggle with this at any point, we have numerous services available to assist you. That is what they are here for so don’t feel bad for accessing them — everyone needs assistance from time to time.
There are these services and more:
- PASS: Peer Assisted Study Sessions, these sessions are offered for 1st year classes that have been deemed difficult, to offer students extra assistance. These sessions are ran by students who completed the subject to a high academic standard, and wish to assist other students do the same.
- ASK service: This is staffed by your Student Academic Leaders. This is where you go to ask any university related question, and if the question doesn’t fall within our area of expertise we will know exactly where to refer you to, to ensure that you get the best assistance possible.
- Learning Skills Advisors: Here to assist you with improving your academic skills, whether that be polishing up your writing style, getting used to university language, or all those tricky referencing and formatting queries.
- Writing Space: A designated study area within the library in which Learning Skills Advisors, or Student Academic Leaders sit, and are available to assist you whilst you study.
- YourTutor/Checkmate: Online assistance, where you can ask questions, and submit essays asking for specific assistance with things such as grammar, flow and similar queries.
- Counselling Services: You can book appointments with skilled counsellors to listen and assist you with stressors that you may be struggling with.
- Disability Liaison Unit: Here to help people who may be suffering from a physical or mental health concern. This may be for long and short term assistance. If you need help with planning around your anxiety, or have done a sporting injury that hinders your ability to perform at university these guys are here to help you.
- Health Centres: Because who doesn’t like conveniently located nurses to assist with your medical concerns, when you’re a busy uni student?
Whatever your concerns, we are here to help you! Don’t be afraid to ask. I promise we don’t bite, and are quite friendly and eager to assist you in achieving your university goals!
Good luck in your studies!