University Students: How to prepare for the new yearBlogs
Your next uni year is fast approaching and, I don't know about you, but I always have that back-to-school enthusiasm leading up to a new year. If you're the same, then my advice is to make the most of it. First things first: check out your timetable. You need to know what to expect from your schedule and make sure that you can plan your study time (and relaxation time) around it. I start by looking at my semester overview and use this to make a weekly reading and assignment tick-list; this way I know where I'm at with each module. It may sound pointless to some, but I find that it makes it much easier for me to see when I'm falling behind and prompts me to get up-to-date. In addition to this, I usually make myself a timetable for the week - a more detailed weekly breakdown of lectures, seminars and study time for each module. Recently, I found a great timetable app called Classes-Timetable for 60p for planning your timetable, assignments and exams, which I'm sure most students would find useful. Even if you don't rigidly stick to your timetables, it definitely helps to have everything laid out and planned in a neat, visual format.
Once you have your timetables sorted, the next step is to download and have a read over your module guides. Inform yourself of the exam formats and estimated dates so that there are no surprises, have a look at the lecture topics, and, most importantly, find your reading list. If there's a core text book then you don't want to leave it until the last minute to order it otherwise you will be behind from the get-go. Try to order them at least 3 weeks in advance because, if you order them online or if the bookstore has run out, they can sometimes take longer than expected to arrive. Getting them early also means that you have the chance to start reading them, if you fancy, and it allows you to get those costs out of the way before you start.
Finances are a constant worry for us students and we all know that books can cost a bomb. A little tip is to stick your old/unneeded books on Amazon (or another second-hand book site) to give you the best chance of recouping some of those costs. You need to do this as soon as you can because otherwise you will miss the peak time for selling. The money you raise by doing this can go towards your new books and new stationery - stationery is something else to buy before you start; it's another cost that I like to get out of the way sooner rather than later.
If you're going into your third and final year like me then graduate job-hunting is going to be something that becomes a big part of your life very soon. Don't make the mistake of leaving it too late because graduation is going to come around much sooner than you think and, in this climate, you need to get ahead. My advice: start having a look online now at what's available, how you would apply for it and what extra skills/qualifications you may need to acquire for it. Many graduate schemes start their applications very early and you would kick yourself if you found the perfect graduate scheme or internship but were too late to apply, so get started!
Those are the main things to do to prepare for a new year but not the only ones. Other things that I like to do include: having a massive tidy-up of my flat, so that I'm just a little bit more motivated to work; having a clear-out-and-eBay-stuff week to raise extra cash; planning my route to uni, so that I know when I need to get up and my travel costs; and finally, having a little relaxation time before it all kicks off (very important).