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Dear first-year self: the study schedule

Dear first-year self: the study schedule

For the next three weeks, I’ll be sharing some life lessons that I wish I’d known in my first year of uni. Whilst we may be coming to the latter end of Semester 2, 2015 (how scary is that!?) – it’s NEVER too late to learn new skills or polish up on old ones, particularly if your efforts will result in increased organisation, reduced stress, and better grades!

This week, we’re looking at the importance of establishing a study schedule that works for you.

Getting the schedule right

This is the big one. A large number of people that pull-out of uni during first year, whether internal or external, cite an overwhelming workload and study life balance as reasons for leaving their studies behind. Establishing a study schedule that works for you is imperative to your success, as well as your health and well-being. As we all study at different rates, and we have unique responsibilities such as work schedules and family commitments to juggle, it’s important that you find a schedule that suits your needs.

These days, I use Microsoft OneNote for all of my uni work, which helps maximise productivity by having everything in front of me, and eliminating unnecessary skipping between programs and windows.

I have created a simple weekly schedule using a chart in OneNote, and I have been using this basic format effectively for many years. Here’s a sneaky look at last week’s schedule – I even managed to complete most of those tasks throughout the week!

Screen grab of study schedule

I can update the tasks as I go, change my schedule to suit work or family commitments, and I make a habit of creating the next week’s schedule on Sunday nights. This way, any tasks that are missed can be rolled over into the early part of the next week.

I find checking the little boxes off to be quite rewarding, and I feel on top of my workload as the week progresses. If you’re a bit snowed under and struggling to get on top of your workload, consider trying out OneNote – also CSU has some fantastic tips on how to manage your studies effectively.

Tune in next week for part two of the ‘Dear first-year self’ mini-series.

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