Starting a new trimester? Feeling overwhelmed? Nervous? All of the above? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Research shows that new students in particular are more likely to be stressed, which results from a feeling of being disconnected from their typical support mechanisms. This feeling of worry is not unique to students fresh out of school but also to those continuing through to a new trimester. With this in mind, here are 5 ways you can set yourself up for success at the beginning of every trimester and beyond:
1. Plan your work and work your plan.
Understanding what is required of you over the coming twelve weeks is essential. Make a trimester plan for all of your units; include class times, assessment deadlines, and lecturers’ contact details. Bonus tip: include flexible first/second draft deadlines. As well as planning, you need to have your resources organised. Folders, both physical and electronic, are great for organising! Don’t be that person with a desktop whose desktop wallpaper has become a disorganised mess of files.
2. Don’t set the bar too high.
Having a clear goal is not only critical to success but also for managing expectations. Goals should be your own and they should not be unrealistic. For example, there is no point trying to complete all your assessments across four units in the first week. Perhaps, you will ‘finish’ them, but given you have done them in one week, will they be any good? It would be much smarter and less stressful to aim to have outlines of the assignments that are due first. This is a much more achievable goal.
3. Find a quiet space. Or headphones.
Studying is no longer divided between campus and our homes. It is, by-and-large, something we are doing at home. It is important we have a space that is comfortable and bright. Ideally, somewhere that is quiet and where you can focus. If you have noisy housemates or even noisier children, a good pair of headphones and some low-tempo music will help enormously.
4. It’s not what you know, but who you know!
Studying at college can be tough. Sometimes it isn’t even the content of the course that is difficult. Rather, the assignments themselves. The wording can be convoluted and unclear. This results in students failing to answer the question, which can then mean not doing as well as they would hope. This is why it is important you ask for help. Sam and Matt can help you with your assignments. Get to know them, reach out and ask for their help. They will tell you in an instant whether you have nailed the task or not.
5. Be social. The old-fashioned way.
How many hours did you spend scrolling through Facebook last week? Have you made new friends on your course? In the current climate, it seems almost inevitable that our relationships are mediated through a screen or app. Try talking to your peers as though you are face-to-face. Your life does not revolve around study and work. Family, hobbies and gossip are all important too and these are always more fun when shared.
You never know, they may one day become colleagues; which brings us back to number 4. It’s not what you know, but who!
Current students; If all else fails and you are still staring at a screen with no idea what to do, reach out to Sam in Sydney or Matt in Melbourne for academic skills support. Gabriela, our counsellor, will also be available via Zoom between 10am to 2pm on Wednesday for 45-minute sessions. Don’t forget to book a private and confidential meeting free of charge if you’re in need of some personal and emotional support. Check your student emails for details.
Good luck with this coming trimester.