Hey guys, welcome back to Part 3 of my university series. If you wish to read Part 1 which is about my experience at uni, click here, or Part 2 about my opinions about going to university and art courses, click here.
Today, I will be giving you my tips for surviving university.
1. Really do your research on the courses you are applying for.
I honestly thought I had when I applied. My Year 12 was basically all focusing on getting into Uni, so to say I did some research, was definitely an understatement.
Something I missed though, was reviews. Like I said, I really wanted to learn about Art History, but unfortunately, there wasn’t actually a lot about it in my course. We did learn bits and pieces about movements and artists, but it we were mainly left to our own research.
So look at reviews, look at all the information available on your course, so that you pick the course that is right for you.
2. Make the most of Orientation Week!
I cannot stress this enough. I unfortunately did not really attend Orientation, and instantly saw what I had missed out on. I am quite shy when it comes to unfamiliar situations, I don’t like talking to people I don’t know, it honestly freaks me out. But Uni is all about stepping out of your comfort zone! And the sooner you do it, the better!
The events set up in O-week are all about making connections and friends in uni so that you don’t start it quite so alone. Everyone is in the same situation, so if you put yourself out there, go to the events, go to the parties, you’ll be able to find some new friends that may stay with you for the entire uni experience.
This also goes for classes, and even considering staying on uni residency. The more you put yourself out there, the easier it is going to be to make your uni experience better. As much as I tried to do this in earlier years, I didn’t actually relax and really put myself out there, talking to class mates and engaging with people until my last two semesters on campus. I met a few nice people along the way, but it wasn’t until my very last semester, that I found a group of people in a Games Design class that I really connected with. I still talk to a few of them on facebook, and one of the girls is actually one of my closer artistic friends.
3.If you are unhappy, leave!
Life is too short to be doing something that you are not happy doing. I get that some professions, such as doctors and lawyers, need a uni degree; but ask yourself, if you are hating learning about this dream profession, is it really your dream.
I can’t change the past, so I don’t want to spend too long dwelling on it, but there is a huge part of me, that believes I should of left during the 1st year.
It is a lot of money to be in debt for something you don’t pass, but is the higher debt going to be worth it, if you just end up regretting those years?
Don’t be afraid to leave or just change your course because your happiness is worth more than slaving away over something you hate.
4.A little bit a day helps you stay on top of things.
Ok, I am probably the worst person to give this advice. I have terrible time management and organisation skills, but it is a very useful piece of information.
Essays and assignments that you are given, if you work at just small pieces over time, it adds up. You won’t be staying up until 5 am, only to wake up at 9, working on your assignments (like me).
Planners are a great way to keep on top of things as well. I would draw up a monthly calendar view of my assignments, then for each week leading up to the due date, would write my expectations on where I was progress-wise for each one. For instance, 2 weeks before the due date, I wanted to have finished my draft, and most of my resource list for an essay. That way the next week, I could read through it, and create a final copy, and in the final week, add any extra tweaks if I needed to, but didn’t need to worry about getting it finished.
5.Universities have so many resources, use them!
There are so many resources available to you at university, libraries, computer labs, art studios. etc. Really take the opportunities to use these. Being able to get your work done in an environment where everyone has the same mindset, and is trying to accomplish the same thing, is a great way to get in the right mindset to get that assignments finished.
Other resources, such as student groups and councils are another great asset of university. These groups can be a great way to find friends, and find like minded people who can help you with your units.
6. Download “Writer’s Block”
Holy heck, I wish I had known about this app sooner. If you are like me, you get easily distracted on parts of the internet that don’t help with the assignment you are trying to write. Writer’s Block is an app, that blocks every part of your computer (except already playing music) until you have written a set amount of words that you give yourself. Thus this takes away most of the distraction, making it so much easier to write. An essay that I had been working on for two weeks, suddenly got completed in 4 hours using this app. (The only con with this, is that you need to have a written copy of the notes and quotes you plan to use, as you can’t access webpages once it’s open). For Mac, this app saves your written work into textedit, which you can easily copy and paste into word.
So that is all I have when it comes to University. If you have read all three parts, you can see why I had to separate them, instead of publishing all in one blog post.
If you are thinking about or soon attending/already attending university, or even if you are just reading this for general interest, I wish you all the best for the future, and I hope one or two of these posts may have helped you in any way.
There will also be a video up on my Youtube today; focusing more on the art side of university and my experience/opinions on this.