September has flown in and the 3 month summer break for students is over -cries-.
This is the first year I have not had to prepare for going back to university as I have now graduated. However, many of my friends are still studying and keep asking me what they have forgotten whilst preparing to return to university. This year, I’m on the other side of the fence, as I now work in the psychology department in my university, so in a way, I am still kinda preparing for the September return.
If I’m being honest, this is probably one of my favourite things about university. Organising and preparing yourself.
I’m going to write down a couple of tips and advice for preparing to return to university or college. You all probably have your own ways and aren’t as obsessed as being organised as I am but for you guys who are, or even just those who want to be a little more organised this year, here is some advice!
Get yourself an academic diary
There is nothing more important than keeping a note of all your deadlines! Some people use the calendars on their phones and that’s fair enough but I still prefer a hard copy of all my important dates. A mid-year diary is perfect for studying because it’s set out like an academic year! I still use an academic diary because I’ve always done this so I’m used to it. I tend to go for a ‘day a page’ diary as I like to be over prepared for things and write down my ‘To Do’ lists for the day so when I’m busy I can prioritise! There is such a wide range of diaries in the shops and I have always got mine from either WHSmiths or Paperchase.
Print your timetable!
There’s nothing worse than starting your first week and missing an introductory lecture, whether it’s your first year or you’re a returning student. I can’t tell you how many times I got caught up in the Freshers Week buzz and was far too hungover to get out of bed and attend the first week of lectures.
Print course handouts
The first thing I always did before going back to university was print out my course handouts and module outlines. By doing this I was able to order my course textbooks on time for starting and see if there was any compulsory reading for the first week of lectures or seminars. It also meant that I could write down the deadlines of essays in my diary so that I was prepared and knew how long I would have to complete each one!
Hands down, the best thing about studying. I absolutely LOVE stationery. I always used the start of a new academic year as an excuse to go on a massive stationery haul, and add to my collection! I usually did this after reading each course handout to know what I would need to study with. In this case, everyone is different and has different ways of studying and preparing notes, I like to take notes with a notebook and pens but some of my friends prefer to use a laptop in lectures.
I love having cute and quirky stationery so would normally get stuff from Paperchase and Tiger. For essentials such a pens, I would normally just pick up a couple of packets from a supermarket.
My pencil case the past two years have been from Cath Kidston! They are just too cute.
I absolutely adore my little cat highlighters from Paperchase. I have these for my desk at home because I don’t want to waste them highlighting in lectures.
I love these little Pen Pals from Tiger. I think they are so cute and I like them for just sitting in my pen pot! They’re too heavy for everyday writing!
I’d normally use Oxford paper notebooks or Pukka Pads for my notes in lectures and have one for each subject.I always had stationery for both lectures and work on university and a second lot for my desk when studying at home.
Create a study time table
At the beginning of each semester, I always tried to plan weekly time table so I knew how much free time I would have. I had a part time job alongside my studies so sometimes it was hard to fit everything in during the week! I always tried to do this at the beginning of the semester so that I would get myself in the routine of reading for my classes in the time I allocated to do readings. This helped me especially when it came to writing essays and course work as I was always up to date with class reading. It also helped at the end of semester when it came to studying for exams because it meant that I had done all the work, I just had to try and memorise it all!
Plan your finances!
For me, one of the most important things when beginning a new term is to sort out your finances. Especially if you’re living away from home and have to take into consideration paying rent, bills and making sure you have enough money to eat! Personally, I write down all the bills that I need to pay in the month and what date they come out. Then I factor in money for food (usually £120 a month) and travel (£30 a month.) I compare this to my income and then decide how much money I should let myself spend on fun things each month. I normally leave some money to the side each month in case of anything unexpected. I still do this now as an ‘adult.’ Writing everything down lets you see a better picture of where your money is going and how much you have coming in and also lets you see if you can really afford that meal out with friends every weekend!
At the beginning of every new year, my friends and I took advantage of Freshers week and sometimes really overdo it! One thing I would have done differently would have been to actually prepare for it! You need to make sure you can afford the nights out to start with! budget your money for Freshers week as you can often find yourself running out of money on the first night insisting you buy everyone drinks as you’ve not seen them for so long! Organise what nights you want to go to with your friends in case you need to plan a fancy dress outfit for a themed night! There’s nothing worse than having to dash into town the day of the event and having a half-arsed outfit! Finally, stock up on hangover food to get you through the week! I also recommend paracetamol and cold and flu tablets to prepare you for Freshers flu!
I hope this helps in some way or another.