The Week Two Blues
The first week of a new semester is always exciting. Seeing friends again, optimistically stacking new textbooks on your desk and best of all, cracking open a new packet of highlighters always makes those first few days fly by. But once all that’s passed, and all you’re left with is readings and assignments, and the week two blues start to creep in…
Week 2 Blues Clue #1 – Lectures and Readings
The first week of a unit is usually a gentle introduction – a welcome from the lecturer, a quick look through the unit outline, diary dates for assignments due months from now and everyone leaves an hour early.
You start to think going back to uni isn’t that bad, until week two hits and you realise you’ve got two chapters to read, a discussion question to ask, you can’t remember where your next lecture is and you have to find a work experience placement by the end of next week.
When the work starts piling up in the second week there’s every temptation to ignore it, even though you know the start of semester is the ideal time to get into the habit of staying on top of all your work.
Get planning. Write due dates in your diary, make lists for each subject you have to do and prioritise what’s most important. While a diary is a great organisational tool it’s also useful to have a calendar so you can see weeks in advance - why not put those new highlighters to good use and colour-code assignments and readings for each unit?
Week 2 Blues Clue #2 – Part-Time Work
Working at your part-time job all through holidays was great – without lectures and readings to worry about, your main concern was skipping from your 9-5 out to drinks, or lazing at the beach before mixing drinks behind the bar. The first weeks of uni when class times are being shuffled and shifts are being swapped, provides great temptation to pick up extra work while things are still slow.
While the extra funds are attractive, particularly while uni is still slow, resist the temptation to keep to the same work schedule, even if it fits in with your uni timetable. Chances are that it fits around your lectures but doesn’t allow time for any extra readings, summarising of lecture notes, preparing for tutes or making that colour-coded calendar. Cutting back work shifts now sets you up for a (hopefully) less stressful semester.
Week 2 Blues Clue #3 – Groundhog Day
Though you leave that first lecture feeling like the semester will breeze by, the confidence slips five minutes into the second class. As the lecturer begins you remember the previous term and realise this is what it’s going to be like – twelve more weeks of readings, lectures, tutes, assignments, diary dates, due dates, group assignments, cramping hands, exam prep, confusing legal language, two-minute noodle dinners, self-inflicted caffeine dependency, cancelled plans, rejected clerkship applications and non-recorded lectures – every single day.
Remember that friend you saw in that first lecture, how excited you felt buying your stack of textbooks or the flicker of anticipation when you enrolled in that elective? It’s not always easy, but try and hold onto that optimistic week one feeling for as long as you can. If all else fails, buy yourself another packet of highlighters and spend the semester in a colour-coded wonderland.
Have a great semester!
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