5 tips to help you adapt to university workload

How do you adjust to change? Whether you’re going from GCSE to A-levels, or A-levels to a degree, the jump can sometimes be a bit of a shock. Especially at university when you’ve got loads of other things that you’re having to get used to for the first time. 

We’ve been speaking to the LifeStart community to ask them how they handled the step up when they got to uni. Whether that be juggling your social life or learning how to write longer essays in a shorter amount of time, we hope that the below tips will help you get started. 

Block time for studying in your calendar 

First and foremost, being realistic about what you need to get done is important. Whether that’s because you like to go out with friends a lot, you signed up to loads of societies, part-time work or just have more reading than you expected, you will have a lot on your plate when you first arrive. Connie H. from Bath University says that ‘time management is key’. That means you need to take a pragmatic approach. Maybe think about writing out your own personalised timetable including the time you want and probably need to commit to studying. That way, when you’re hanging out with friends you don’t feel guilty that you’re not prepping for your next class or exam. 

Prioritize what’s actually important to you, yet keep an open mind

Connie adds that you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself. Sometimes you can’t keep everything going and that’s okay. Saying “yes” in the first place can also lead to wonderful new experiences, as we’ve written about in our blog post here.

Invite fellow students to start a study group

University isn’t unique to just you. As April S. who studies at Goldsmiths reminded us, “everyone is in the same boat and doing the same thing makes it easier.” If you’re struggling with a certain assignment or reading, then the people on your course are probably suffering as much as you are. Maybe join forces, invite other students to work on an essay or assignment together.

If you don’t have time to do the assignment with other people, even just chatting, as we learned from May M. from University of St Mark and St John, has led her to have better grades whenever she talked with coursemates before submitting an essay. Try and ask around or ask each other questions. Even make a study chat where you can help each other out. 

Don’t underestimate deadlines

With all this in mind, that does rely on you not leaving everything to the last minute! 

We’ve all been there, you push things back, you procrastinate (a lot) and the next thing you know you have under 24 hours left to go. As much as we recommend against leaving something to the last possible moment, you probably still will..

If you’re looking for a possibly useful form of procrastination; watch Tim Urban’s TED Talk on procrastination. It’s well worth your time and may help tame your panic monster.

It will get easier! 

Hopefully though as April agreed “you adapt from experience”, whether that’s learning not to leave an essay to the night before, or finding an assignment buddy to work alongside with “the more essays you do for example you get into more of a rhythm and learn what to do for the next time.” Being adaptable in this way is an important skill that lots of companies at any level look for. In any instance, try to see the positive and what you’ve learnt from it. Even if you have a class which you hate, you will still be learning how to structure your ideas and maybe even present an argument you don’t agree with. 

All the things we spoke about are experiences that you will be able to draw on in the future. Good or bad, you’re in the process of building up a picture of things that you like and don’t like and maybe even working out what direction you want to go in the future. 

That’s just what some of the Lifestart community thought. Do you agree? Maybe you have something to add that has helped you adapt to your new workload? Get in touch! We love to hear from you.

Want to share your tips and tricks and be featured in one of our future blog posts? Do so here!