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Off to a Good Start: Staying on Track in the New Academic Year

Boy reading book with colourful lines flying out of it

We all start the new academic year with ambitious goals. We tell ourselves that we will do all of the weekly readings, prepare for seminars and complete our notes well before exams, but before you know it, the term is half over and you’ve barely completed the work for week one. If this sounds all too familiar, here are some tips for how to stay motivated this year…

Get Planning

Do you start your readings before the semester begins? Neither do I, but there are certainly some tasks you can tick off your list before the term begins in earnest. Read up on your course outlines, make a subject timetable, familiarise yourself with the assessments in each subject, and shop around for your textbooks and stationery early in the semester so you have all the resources you need well before mid-semester.

As most students know, disorganisation and a lack of time management are your biggest enemies when it comes to excelling at your studies. Get a diary or wall planner and make a note of your work, study and social commitments for the semester. Being organised will help you to keep track of those due dates and streamline your study sessions. Of course, a bit of colour-coding doesn’t go astray here!

Start studying in week one

It's very easy to get caught up in O Week activities, stationery shopping and frequent rendezvous at the uni bar in the first few weeks of term. However, even if you’re lucky enough not to have any tutorials in the first week of semester, there are no doubt readings and class preparation to consider. Making a to start your study in week one ensures you’re less likely to fall behind and become unmotivated as the semester progresses.

Set goals

It is difficult to achieve when you don’t know what you want to achieve. Spending some time reflecting on last year and where you could improve can help shape your goals for the year ahead. Write your goals down and display them somewhere prominent so that you know where you want to be at the end of the semester. Motivation is the key!

Study buddies

Group study may not work for everyone, but if it works for you, start a study group early in the semester, rather than when an assignment or exam is looming. Use study group time to review tutorials and key concepts, and you’ll be on your way to a good set of notes and a sound understanding of the course.

Find the right balance

And finally, to ensure that you have a good time this semester, make sure that you maintain a balance between study, work and relaxation.

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