March 29, 2016


University is amazing! You will make great memories and great friendships that will last a lifetime and you will get the chance to study what you love. Hands down, these have been the best three years of my life.

However, when you go to university it is incredibly easy to forget why you’re really there – essentially, to graduate and get a degree. I’ve seen so many people have what I call the ‘epiphany moment of freedom’. This is when someone realises that they have the freedom to do pretty much anything. This includes the freedom to not do any work…

You don’t need to be a robot, work systematically from 9 to 5 every day and turn down every social event you’re invited to to get ahead at Uni- it’s all about getting a balance. By all means have fun, but just don’t neglect the importance of your university work.

During my time at university I have used different techniques to stay organised and work efficiently, so here are a few tips that might come in handy for you, too.

Keep an organised bedroom

There is nothing worse then being late for a lecture because you can’t find your keys (this happened to me on my first ever day of lessons). I assure you, if your room wasn’t messy before that, then it will be after you’ve thrown everything up in the air trying to find them!

I’m not saying your room needs to be spotless; just keep things in order and keep track of where things are. I keep books piled into their designated subject. This is so I can see all the books I have on one subject rather than them being all over the place. When it gets to the hand-in date, I don’t end up realizing I had an extra book under the bed that would have been really useful.

Use your walls

It can be difficult to keep track of what you are studying each week, sometimes you walk into a lecture and feel like you don’t have a clue what’s being discussed.

However, every student is given a module handbook. This handbook informs you of many things, one of them being the module break down and what the lectures each week will entail. It is so useful to have this on your wall so you can constantly see what is happening and stay aware what you are studying each week.

I also find it incredibly useful to have a planner on my wall to keep track of what I’m doing, when I’m doing it. I would actually advise this over with having a diary. This is because in this format, I can quickly and easily see how many weeks I have until me University assignments are in and when I need to start doing work for each one. It’s also hard to lose anything this way!

Create a study playlist

Sometimes the hardest part of doing work is actually to start working. Getting in the mood to do work isn’t easy, but getting distracted is. The way I tackle this is to have a ‘study music playlist.’

I started this technique at A-level and I still use it now. You may be thinking ‘but I play music already when I work’. My playlist however is specifically created to get me in the mood for working, as opposed to just being a list of my favourite songs – I’ve found playing my usual songs aren’t very good, as I end up singing along and getting distracted!

My study playlist

Write what is said by your lecturer, not what is written on the slide

I have been to so many lectures and taken hundreds of notes. The first thing I will say about note taking is take as many as you can, even if you know for certain you won’t use that particular topic/subject in your essay; you might still use some of the material or ideas spoken about.

The second thing is to write down notes on what the lecturer says, not what they have written on the PowerPoint slide. This is because what they have to say is expanding on the slide and giving you more depth and understanding. Usually the lecturer puts up the PowerPoint slides online after the lecture, so you can combine these slides with your own notes after if you wish.

Re-write your notes

This is the biggest chore you will endure, but trust me; it is worth it.

If you want to remember what is said in a lecture, then after it, go home and re-write your scruffy notes into a neat and organised fashion. When you go back to them, you will know exactly where to look and can understand your handwriting easily.

Alwyn Notes.27.33

Before… and after!

Learn how to write a to-do list

There is a definite art with making to-do lists – you don’t want to give yourself too much to do. If you do, the chances are that none of it will get done.

Break down bigger tasks in to bite-sized chunks. For example, don’t write down on a to-do list ‘Write essay’. Having this heavy task on anyone’s to do list would put them off!

Instead, ‘write 200 word introduction of essay’ feels more manageable – work step by step through the rest of the essay and it will be done before you know it.

I hope these tips prove helpful! 🙂