Coping with University Life
I having a motto that I have taught many of my clients during my coaching sessions, which also works for me as well; “If you do not have a plan do not do anything”. This is a very critical skill that a student should learn and exercise every day. It gets worse when the student is studying, working or having to do both, demands a proper planning, so scheduling tasks are vital to get the job done and the study work completed successfully. Downtime is crucial but if you don’t plan your own downtime, you will probably never get much. “Failing to plan is planning to fail”, therefore it is critical for every student to have their life planned very well.
During my mentorship and time management workshops that I have with my clients, I teach them to have a watch, a notebook, a diary and a special pen. I also teach them to respect this four tools and make sure they use them every day. Having a diary makes your life simple because you plan everything you are going to do either each day, in a week, or in a month. Taking notes or writing things down, on the notebook, is very important because it serves as a point of reference. Time is the most important element of our lives and a person who doesn’t respect time has no plan.
Accept that your life will not be balanced
I have seen many students failing because of expecting that university will be easy. Studying has never been easy but it gets better to those who consistently make it easy for them. Some students choose a degree or a degree because their friends promised them it is going to be easy. Students should be ready for anything from a module and be ready for the outcomes. If you expect to have a good day and the day becomes challenging, you may struggle to get through it. However, if you accept that it is quite possible that the day could be dreadful and it turns out to be much better than expected, you will be able to take full advantage of the situation.
Exercise is Key
Mental and physical health are enhanced through regular exercise, so make sure you do at least 30 minutes to an hour of physical activity every day. The key to a healthy mind is a healthy body, and when the body is healthy it is most likely to perform greatly. Some students do not eat healthily, so it is important to go to the gym. Sometimes it does not have to be a paid gym or gym instructor, but jogging and few exercises with your friends can make a huge difference if done constancy. There is no need to get yourself into debt because you want to sign-up to an expensive gym but using what you have or doing what you can do to exercise is the most important thing.
Learn to Prioritise
When work pressures start to bear down on you, learn to prioritize tasks and pick up the slack by trading sleep for naps. The best formula for prioritizing is applying the success formula, and this formula is called the six “P” formula for success: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Firstly, the planning process forces you to organize your thinking and identify all the key issues that must be dealt with if you are ultimately going to be successful. Second, thinking through, proper thinking, what you must do to accomplish your goals enables you to plan your actions carefully before you begin, thereby saving you enormous costs of time, people, and money. Third, a good plan, thoroughly discussed and evaluated, enables you to identify flaws and errors that could prove fatal to your academic life later on. It enables you to ask “what if?” questions. For example, “What are the worst possible things that could happen if you were to take a particular course of action?”
Have a good support system
There will, without doubt, days when you feel very flat, lacking energy and drive. Those are the times when you need a friend, a confidante, a family member to confide in and help and encourage you to build yourself up again. In my case, I always turned to my girlfriend or my mother who is a very strong but empathetic woman.
Have a cause and have faith
I did my honors degree while working to pay tribute to my late grandfather who always encouraged me to do better. I also did it for myself, to prove I could do whatever I turned my mind to and to prove to people who told me it couldn’t be done that in fact it was possible. I have very strong faith in myself and my abilities.
Some relationships will suffer
If you work while studying, you will probably not have a lot of time to socialize and may end up losing friends. However, true friends will stick by you through thick and thin.
Anxiety is good, procrastination is bad
With always being on the move and working on numerous projects, it is sometimes easy to procrastinate which is a thief of time. I believe there is a big difference between being productive and being so called “busy” which can be a form of laziness.
Have a close relationship with your classmates and lecturers
If you study while working, you will struggle if you do not have a good relationship with colleagues and lecturers.
For example, in instances where I couldn’t attend lectures due to work commitments, classmates covered for me and lecturers helped as well.