I think rephrasing time management to time prioritisation is much more helpful. Whether you’re in your first year at uni, or doing it all again for the second time round, October is the month to be swept away by all sorts. Torn between choosing pints and pub quizzes or knocking out your essay word count? I’ll be going over some simple steps which should (hopefully) make life at uni a little easier to manage.
1. Lists, lists, lists.
If you’ve followed my tips from the food waste blog, you’d know just how handy planning a little in advance is. Going to the shops is so much easier when you know what you’re getting, in and out before you know it (that is, in assuming you don’t get distracted by the snacks section). In a similar way, making a list of the things you really need to get done helps you to prioritise and ensures you spend less time deviating (which some may call procrastinating). Obviously, the main outcome of university is academic learning and a lovely little slip of paper (technically called a degree). So, regardless of what year you’re in and how much the grades for this current module count for the semester, having your deadlines, tutorial work and coursework at the top of your mind (and list) would be pretty beneficial in the long run.
2. But I thought university was all about trying new stuff?
Yep, and you’re correct. I’ve honestly found that immersing yourself into academics and getting caught up in what can be an absolute whirlwind of academia probably isn’t as useful as you may think it is. It’s a well known fact that a work- life balance enhances the ‘productivity’ and quality of your studies, as well as, well, you know, make you a wee bit happier. However, I’m going to push a bit further than that. Especially if you’re in your first year, and in other years too, immersing yourself in all that university has to offer can teach you things that academic work could never. Like… how to get out of a wetsuit from a freezing swim in the North Sea. Ok, maybe that’s a slightly niche one to me. The societies at universities give you a chance to try things you never would have before. What’s more, the majority of them are super open to beginners, so there’s no embarrassment in dipping your toes into something slightly strange and absurd. You can really get into the grips of what you’re passionate about and develop some core leadership skills by creating your own projects or student collectives. The diversity of interests in unis make the perfect places to create, explore and learn.
3. Learn to navigate the waters
Oh yes, your dear old friend, resilience, is back at it again. University is so full of every curveball you can imagine, social and academic and whatever- that- adulting- thing is called. Managing your time (unfortunately) takes time, but through trusting the process and using your initiative, you’ll be able to figure things out using previous experiences. Yes, the academic side is important, but so is all the other stuff. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and frustrated at yourself, so, as ever, set some time aside every day or week where you can take a bit of a breather. Putting some distance between yourself and the chaos of uni is certainly helpful. Building habits and breaking them is all part of figuring out what you want, and choose, to prioritise.
Anisha Minocha is studying English and Spanish at the University of St Andrews. She is a passionate writer and poet whose work has been published in anthologies, magazines, blogs and won competitions. Contributing to Sink Magazine, she is keen to utilize the voice of young people and share work through her creative writing blog. As a climate activist, she has combined her love for words and the planet in a performance of spoken word at the Royal Exchange Theatre in 'Letters to the Earth'. She also co-runs Young Friends of the Earth: Manchester and has organised workshops, participated in panels and spoken at Manchester Cathedral.
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