- Realise you have to learn to be a student before you can learn your subject.
- Get Coloured Document Wallets.
- Get Highlighters and post its.
- Get four or five notepads, or one notepad with coloured bordered sections.
- Get a pencil case, pens, pencils.
- Get a good rucksack or bag.
- Get a memory stick.
- Get a diary, put all of your summative and formative dates in it IMMEDIATELY! staple in your timetable and write down when you are meeting people for group work, the stress of not knowing what you are doing is just not worth it.
- Put a calendar on the wall with all of your summative and formative dates on, in clear view of you everyday, also add a few affirmations to it, like, ‘I am a bad ass student who learns easily and effortlessly’
- Be quiet in the library, some people are in their final year and writing their end reports and dissertations. Be kind to them and take your chatter to the canteen, lets hope in your final year, karma kisses your ass because of this beautiful gesture and gives you an abundance of peace when you think you are losing your mind amongst deadlines and are praying for that 2-1 or First.
- Theorists are just dudes with opinions who tried to prove it, there are many other theorist dudes with opinions who disagreed with them, and tried to prove it too.
- Nobody in the room is better than you, every one of you have varied skill sets and ways of being. If you can identify other peoples strengths instead of their weaknesses, then group work and any work you have to do with them, will be about complimenting each other and doing a good job. You want grades, right?
When you become a student of higher education it is a little different from school, and all of a sudden you are introduced to new subjects in a very fast paced way. People often mix up notes, lose documents, or just take every book, notepad and folder to every single lesson, making your bag heavy and your mood annoyed as you try to rumble through everything for what you need in that lesson.
Do not do this. You will probably have four modules each semester, that normally means four tutors, or maybe three, and one will do two subjects. I like to play reservoir dogs, I buy four coloured wallets, lets say green, blue, pink and yellow. I did a Health and Social Care Honours, so I hope you can relate a little, as I will use this as my example.
My Applied Psychology tutor became Mrs Pink, my Leadership and Management tutor became Mr Yellow, Community Healthcare became Mr Green and Research was Mrs Blue. Every hand out they gave me got a highlighted scribble of their colour in the corner, just in case I was rushing and had to throw it in my bag, having Mrs Blue’s, blue highlighter on my desk at all times, means everything she gave me had a blue topped right corner, and I always knew stuff was hers. I also had blue post its for her, so I could quickly take notes and then put them on a book or whatever, and knew it was related to my Research assignments. You can get plain notebooks and write the word blue or pink on them, or what I love is the dividers that have coloured tabs, that way you can easily find each subject fast. Only if you are doing this, by the folder first, then base your colours of wallets, post its and highlighters from whatever the tabs are.
Also on Wednesday you may only have tutor pink and yellow, so you can leave green and blue on your desk, why lug them around all of the time, unless you have a group meeting etc, or a tutor one to one, then take them, but only take the folders and stuff you need, when you need it.
Make sure you have a full pencil case, running out of ink when you are in a ‘flow’ can totally disrupt your thought patterns, sometimes you will be working and it will be easy, for some reason everything will go in and you will be unstoppable, make sure you have lots of pens, pencils and a charged mp player for when this happens.
Do not scrimp on your ‘school’ bag, you will hate it, and it will become more and more annoying as the year goes on. Think about whether it is functional, does it have the pockets and sections needed to help you all year? And does it look freakin’ awesome in your view? Pay that extra ten or twenty quid, your bag is a part of you for the next couple of years.
Get a memory stick, I stood on my laptop the week before my dissertation was due, and had not backed anything up. Luckily I am dyslexic and like the feel of real paper and being able to highlight it and make notes on it, so had a massive cardboard box full of PDF’s and managed to write it from scratch, but it wasn’t fun, after meeting my other deadlines i had four days left to write an entire dissertation and spent one of those days crying about it. Get a memory stick and freakin’ well use it!
You need a diary and you need to use it, when you get all of your turn it in dates, start prioritising your workload, ensure you start work on what needs handing in first, so understand whether Mrs Blue or Mr Green wants your work first, and go get their reading list from the library and get stuck in. Most people start doing the assignment that they like the best or think they can do easiest, but if it is not due until may next year and is for Mrs Pink, yet Mr Green needs shit done in November, and you have a group presentation for Mr Yellow the week after, you better get that in your diary and stop messing with a five thousand word project due on the 11th May 2019. I had a time line which had all of my summative and formative dates, and when I hoped to finish them by. Being organised reduces melt downs, it is that simple, why get all shitty with your group, when you can schedule days the month before, instead of hating on each other with loads of last minute crappy meet ups, where nobody is filling their potential because you are all blaming the other for making this not run smoothly, so make it run smoothly, schedule time together for Mr yellow because he needs your shit in November.
Do not use the library to make friends with your group, some people are working in there, and I am sure I must have peeved off loads of third years, and as they tutted at our noise, I would roll my eyes like a right Mrs know it all (shame on me). I would like to apologise to those people now, as I fully understand what it is like to stand on your laptop and only have the libraries computer to use during opening hours to write a full dissertation whilst jolly first years rap to their mp player in the corner and then talk about what they will eat for tea, and how bitchy their tutor is.
Okay, so theorists, I see it like this. There are three dudes in a pub talking about a theory, a theory is just an idea that became their opinion, that they decided to prove so put out a thesis which was then accepted/ not accepted mainstream and also argued with by other theorist dudes as to how valuable it was to the subject.
So, say they are discussing the nutrition of bananas, one dude theorist says ‘I found when bananas are yellow they are full of whatever, and this whatever is bad ass for you’, another theorist goes, ‘well when they are brown they have this in and it is even better for you’, the other dude says, ‘I found if you cook them and eat the skin like they do in other countries, then they are full of this and that, and can do this and that for you’, so here we have three dudes discussing a subject, and have research to back them up, either research they did themselves (primary), or research they read from others (secondary), then they just chat about it, your tutor Mrs Pink, will probably introduce you (talk about) a few different dude theorists, and you will be expected to find another one, who will either back up the first dude theorist or argue with them all, it does not really matter and it is best to be a little neutral in most of your text, although you can use two theorist dudes with the same opinion to make a point more valid, that the banana should definitely be cooked because a study ‘suggested’ that eating a cooked banana every day reduces depression, because the skin is full of happy chemicals (true story).
When writing an assignment you do not have an opinion, only the dudes in the pub do, so you talk in third person at all times, like this:
When we look at the suggested evidence toward the goodness in bananas it shows there are many differing opinions as to when a banana should be eaten to get the most nutritional value from it, and even arguments that it can reduce depression and be used as a treatment for it, if eaten cooked and in its entirety (dude theorist three, 1994). But theorist dude one (1997) found this to be irrelevant because he said that if you eat seventeen bananas in 24 seconds, in one smoothie, then you can learn to fly, this would completely invalidate the third dude theorist (1994) because like the fourth dude theorist says,
“If you can fly, you are happy anyway” (Dude, theorist four, 1998, The banana handbook).
Also if you are there to compete with others, judge others and compare yourself CONSTANTLY, this will drain your energy, remove your focus from actually being the best and stop you from getting those bad ass grades you really want. Learn to relax, meditate and do fun stuff in between learning, because your wellbeing matters. I used to listen to Bill Hicks before presentations, and giggle to myself like a mad woman in the hallway before delivering them, whilst everyone else paced, panicked and worried about how shit they would do. But I looked mad, right? If you let yourself enjoy this experience instead of be pinned down by it, you will release your inner genius.
Oh, and I got a 2-1, and 62% for the dissertation that was written in three days (remember, I spent one day crying, so it doesn’t count). If you are as organised as you can be, without standing on your laptop with steel toe cap boots because you were going through a bit of a funky/spiritual/gothy/something-ish phase…
You can have great fun as a student, and do better than you ever thought you could, putting a few little steps in place to make your life easier, is well, going to make your life easier. Five minutes spent today, is ten to fifteen spent tomorrow.
Re-read this and use my tips, they work. ❤
Oh, and press save, when you yawn, pee, stretch, drink water, or scratch your head.
Happy Studenting! And maybe follow this blog as I normally write about stress reduction…it may come in handy 😉