Anyone who has trudged through the four (or more) years of university will attest to the fact that it isn’t easy. Your capabilities and maturity are tested on a daily basis and you learn a lot of lessons along the way, mostly difficult ones. While everyone’s experience is different, there are a few basic tips to keep in mind when either first starting or nearing your graduation that will help make the entire process that much more bearable.
Back Up, Back Up, Back Up
In order to avoid major devastation half way through the semester while studying for your first midterm you have to learn and master the art of backing up your files. It’s easy to neglect this habit seeing as most laptops can hold a lot of documents, but you never know when yours will randomly give out at the most inopportune moment. Think ahead and make sure to store your documents somewhere else other than just your hard drive so that if your laptop does crash you’ll know that 10-page essay is still safe on your USB stick or, for added security, in a virtual data room. While a VDR is typically used for more complex deals and transactions, you can never be too safe with your information and it is the most impenetrable way to store and share data online.
It can be very tempting, especially in the early days, to throw caution to the wind and leave that reading until the morning before your lecture or that history paper until the night before it’s due. Sure, it’s important to take it easy on yourself when your schedule inevitably becomes overwhelming, but it’s just as important to know when to push yourself to finish your work sooner rather than later. While it might be more relaxing to procrastinate now, it won’t be as easy to catch up later on in the semester when all your reading and essay writing is piling up. The curriculum won’t slow down for you so you should be taking advantage of all the free time you have to stay on top of your workload and get a head start on anything that seems like it will be more time-consuming later on down the line.
It’s Okay To Fall Behind
If you do find yourself falling behind in the semester know that it’s not the end of the world. Everyone goes through hiccups and will inevitably lose sight of the right steps to stay on track so give yourself time to accept the slight mental breakdown you might be going through amidst half-read books and scattered notes to recognize the light at the end of the tunnel. Work your way through your assignments and ask your professors for extensions if necessary. There is always the following semester to get back on the right path after a holiday break to feel refreshed and motivated. Also, don’t avoid reaching out to your campus guidance department for some extra help along the way. It is incredibly difficult to navigate through university alone and there is no shame in getting some assistance when you need it most.
It’s All About Balance
When you’re focusing all your attention on school work and not falling behind in your courses it can be easy to lose balance in your life altogether. While school should be the top priority for the next few years you should also devote some time to yourself so that you don’t become burnt out. Make sure to exercise regularly to work off some of that stress and don’t avoid making plans with your friends in order to spend more time studying. You need to clear your mind every so often and socializing regularly outside of school is a great way to do that. If you find it hard to organize plans with friends, opt to spend the night in instead and do all the fun things you haven’t had the time to do since you started university – binge watch a show, order in a delicious meal, and let yourself relax enough so that you can get back to work with a fresh perspective and purpose.
Know Your End Goal
Sometimes it’s easy to forget why you’re working hard at something and that also applies for university. Amidst looming due dates, late night study sessions, and the quick demise of your social life you might not remember your end goal and why exactly you’re putting yourself through all this stress. It’s important not to lose sight of what you’re trying to achieve because, at the end of the day, that’s what’s helping you push through the tough times. Maybe it’s simply getting your BA or working toward a master’s degree then a doctorate. Whatever it is, keep it in mind and use it to pull you up out of the dark ditch of deprivation and too much caffeine.