Welcome Back!!! Less than a week ago I finished my first ever semester at university and handed in my first ever portfolio. It was a very stressful couple of months for me but reflecting on my time, I realised I could have utilised my time and organised myself more to keep my stress levels down.
Before I started university this past October, I had taken a year and a half off education for health reasons and therefore unintentionally taken a gap year. Previous to uni, I had done a Level 3 BTECH which really didn’t push me to my highest ability so uni was a shock to the system when our first ever deadline and hand in was approaching and I realised just how much work was required of me. Therefore here are six, hopefully helpful tips for you that may just make university life that little bit easier. Although I wish I had a list like this before I started, I know I wouldn’t have believed half of them, but trust me, after experiencing the stress of my first semester, all this tips really do help you stay on track.
(Disclaimer: this is based on my own experiences of being a new graphic design student so some tips may be very specific to the creative courses/industry.)
1. Do Work When It’s Set. Never Ignore Anything. An obvious but crucial one. One of my teachers told us, right at the beginning of the semester, to create a whole bunch of Google Docs and gradually work on them through-out the term. No-one realised how big of a part they played in our final grade so kind of just ignored them until three weeks ago so when our teacher reminded us of them. We in fact had 18 essays to do in three weeks which really didn’t help with stress. Next semester, if anything similar is set, I’m going to gradually do them and not leave them all to the last minute, showing that everything a teacher says and sets at uni will be important to your grade, never ignore anything.
2. Save All Your Work…even if you don’t think it’s relevant. IT IS! This may sound like a stupid one but because I’m a graphic design student we did a lot of “boring” and at the time, what seemed like pointless work about things I already knew. I didn’t save a lot of it so when the list of things we had to hand in for our final piece was given out, a lot of our very first designs, the ones I hadn’t saved, were on there. That meant more stress on me as I had to redo a load of work I have already previously done but just hadn’t saved.
3. Don’t Strain Your Health. The amount of times I spent stressing about uni and the work I had left to do, looking back was an unhealthy amount. Having said this, I always gave myself a cut off point when I would stop working every night so I always had some me time at the end of the day to destress and do things I enjoyed, whether that’s blog, read, catching up on my favourite Youtubers or
play some Sims. I made sure I stopped working at a certain point so I could enjoy my evenings knowing I had done about as much uni work as possible. For example, if I started working at 10am, I would stop working at 7pm latest. Stick to those time slots you have created for yourself to prevent yourself getting distracted.
4. Never throw any of your assignment briefs away. The amount of times I thought I had finished a task but got the teacher to check it and realised I needed to add more. I referenced my assignments briefs over and over again at so many different points. Never throw them out even if you think you are done. I still have them in a folder now, just in case.
5. Likewise, never throw any work away. I did multiple assignments and when I showed the teacher they told me how I could improve my work and get a higher grade. However, they never told me to throw my first “draft” away as this is great proof of me developing my ideas and coming to my final outcome, hopefully gaining you more marks, a bit like maths in high school…always show your workings out.
6. Don’t waste your days off. Although I go to uni full time, I actually only go in three times a week. I have Monday’s and Friday’s off but they are written down on my timetable as “Independent Study”. Use this time wisely even if you do end up sleeping in for that much needed extra hour. I work at my intern on one of my days off but on the other, if I had a lot of work that needs doing, I treat it just like a uni day, doing a full 10am to 6pm, with a one hour break for lunch. It’s crazy the amount of work you can get done whilst in your pjs…I’m surprised universities haven’t allowed that dress code yet.
Moral of the story…aka this blog post. Always listen to the good side of your brain, you’ll thank yourself later when everyone else is stressing and you are up to date with everything.
“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who really are.” – Sirius Black
I know this blog post was a little different to what I usually do but I hoped you enjoyed it nevertheless. Be sure to let me know if you enjoyed the illustrations and blog banner as this is the sort of style I want to continue on with on my blog, so I would love your thoughts.
Thank you for reading and supporting my blog and until next time…
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