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5 Key Tips to Staying Organised in the New Semester

“New year, new me!!”. I’m sure we have all been guilty of reciting this post-festive favourite. But how often do our resolutions actually see past January? For many students, we vow to stop leaving our assignments until the last minute, promise ourselves we will get that 1:1 we have been dreaming of and swear we won’t subject our brain to 12 weeks of sleep deprivation. But how often does this actually happen? With these 5 easy tips, you’ll be breezing your way through Spring Semester whether you are a fresher still finding your feet or a third-year veteran.

1.    Organising your time:

It is all we are ever told to do, but there is a reason why; it’s effective! Life as a student can be very stressful: managing academic work, part-time work, societies, well-being and much more can make life seem impossible. The good news is that there are ways to manage things even if you don’t consider yourself an organised person. By creating a weekly time-table, you can visualise your workload and then prioritise what needs to be done in order to make sure you are up to date on your work. This can either be done by creating a physical copy either by hand or digitally and printing it out. Alternatively, there are tons of apps designed to help with time management find one that works for you and stick with it.

2.    Deadlines and Exams:

Deadlines and exams are possibly the worst thing about university, with the thought of such filling most people with dread. They are always a little scary, but feeling organised and adequately prepared will make taking them on a lot less daunting. At the beginning of every semester, put all assignment deadlines and exam dates in a diary, on a calendar, or however you chose to keep note of things, and try to regularly remind yourself of when these are. This way you can predict when your weeks might become more stressful for you and make sure your most important tasks are prioritised above less important tasks. Also, when identifying weeks which may be particularly difficult, it may be helpful to filter relaxation time in to allow for de-stressing.


3.    Using your resources wisely:

Believe it or not, lecturers and seminar leaders are actually here to see us succeed and not just nag about course reading. At the beginning of the semester, take note of your lecturers/seminar leaders office hours (if they have them) and utilise them! Even if you have a small question about the reading, building rapport with academic staff will help optimise your learning experience and achieve the best possible results. Also, for many university courses, teaching staff can provide help with draft essay plans. This is a valuable resource which you should most definitely make the most of. Organising study sessions with your classmates can be a good idea too, as you’re all in the same boat and it can be a nice break from independent learning.


4.   The early bird gets the worm:

That pit in your stomach that opens when your lecturer mentioned the upcoming assignment that you haven’t even begun to think about? The all-night race to reach the 12 o’clock essay cut-off? Procrastinating that essay reading just adds to the stress of writing it in the first place. If you begin your essay or assignment earlier, you can easily get your hands on the course reading in the library and it allows re-draft your work overtime to give you the best possible result in the end. A high number of students trip themselves up by not proof reading and re-drafting their work, knocking off valuable marks which could have been the difference between a 2:1 and a 1:1


5.    Prioritise:

Sometimes even the most organised of people find themselves swamped under what appears to be endless course reading and infinite assignments with no time left to even blink. If it begins to feel this way, then first of all breathe! Next, write down all your tasks and try to rank them from most important to least important. Then simply make your way down the list of tasks starting with the most important. The act of writing the tasks will help relieve a little stress and once you can tick all those you have completed you will eventually begin feel back on track with your university work.


By making the most of these tips, you will save yourself from a lot of unnecessary stress and you will enter the new semester by setting off on the right foot!


GRB Blog Author and Student - Harley Longley

I am a second year International Relations and Politics student at the University of Sheffield. I am a national champion in competitive cheerleading and I am particularly interested in the feminist movement, animal rights and poetry.

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