By Sabrina Luton
Starting a University degree can be nerve-wracking for any student. I certainly found some parts of my transition to Uni difficult. Here are some tips I wish someone had told me in my first year!
Figure Out Your Learning Style
In my first year(s) of uni, I heard a lot of people talking about how you don’t really need to go to class to do well; just a few tutorials here and there will do. While lecture recordings are great, it took me a while to figure out that I wasn’t getting much out of them. When I started attending every lecture, I found I did much better in my classes because I was more engaged (and less inclined to take ‘occasional’ Netflix breaks).
On the other hand, lecture recordings are there for you to use! If you find that your schedule is too tight to go to class, lecture recordings are a life saver. And some people find that they’re able to learn more by staying home and watching the recordings. In a lecture recording, you can pause and take notes or set the speed slower or faster – you can essentially customise your lecture experience!
Figure out what works best for you, so you can get the most out of your lectures.
Take Initiative With Self-Directed Learning
Unfortunately, your Media and Communications degree might not teach you all the practical skills you will need when you enter the workforce. While you will learn a lot of theory, it will help to have some practical skills that you develop on the side. There are lots of courses online, but it helps to be a ‘digital native’ and teach yourself how to use social media platforms.
Check out these articles which give you a comprehensive guide of the best free and paid online resources to help you freshen up your industry skills.
Start Looking For Work Experience NOW
You’re probably sick of hearing it over and over again, but work experience is going to be the most important thing you can do during Uni. Having industry relevant experience on your resume is really going to help you stand out when you’re looking for that elusive grad position. While Universities often provide opportunities to help you get work experience within your units, I wish I had been looking for industry experience rather than staying in paid, non-industry relevant work. Even working somewhere for a couple of weeks during the summer semester will look better than nothing.
Take Care Of Yourself
Professional burnout is the occurence of feeling emotionally and physically exhausted due to anxiety and stress at work. Professional burnout, or even work-related stress, can have serious impacts on your physical and mental health. Similar stress can result from all of your assignments, extracurriculars and other responsibilities piling up. One of the best things you can do to manage your workload and avoid burnout is self-care. Developing habits like healthy eating, and exercise, and a good sleep routine will help you balance your commitments more effectively. Set yourself a routine which includes each of these healthy habits, and remember to also set aside time to relax and have fun with friends and family!
Also, take yourself to the doctor when you need to. Universities often have free (bulk billed) doctors and counselling services on campus. Find out if your campus does – and use them as much as you need before you graduate.
Developing these habits at the start of your degree will not only set you up for later in life – but also help you get through Uni with less stress.