For most students, university life represents the first time being away from home for a prolonged period of time. This means freedom from parental control! Now you’re in charge of your own life. No more deadlines for coming home at night, no more nagging about keeping your room clean. No more prohibitions on girlfriends staying over. Now you’re free to come and go as you please, but only within the context of not forgetting why you’re at university in the first place.
Virtually every student starting uni is quickly faced with the dilemma of a night out straight to a 9 am lecture and not only having to get there on time – but stay awake, concentrate and take notes. However, the 9 am lecture isn’t as bad as it seems. At least in a packed lecture theatre you can have a quick snooze without being seen. It is actually the 2 pm post-lunch tutorial that is the real problem. With a small tutorial group, there is nowhere to hide. As with anything, the key to this problem is planning and finding the right balance. For example, you’re not going to have a 9 am lecture every day of the week (unless you’re really unlucky!) This leaves many opportunities for late nights without having to get up early in the morning. Even if you have to party the night before an early lecture, try to keep the boozing to a minimum. At your age, a student can bounce back from a late-night fairly easily the next morning, but not with a raging hangover.
Making the transition between work and enjoying uni life involves remembering a couple of simple points.
- The first is that, contrary to accepted knowledge, the first year of university is important, despite the fact that your first year’s marks may not go towards your final grade. However, that first year provides the foundation for successfully navigating the second and third years.
- The second point is, do not get into the habit of falling behind. Do not let the small number of contact hours a week fool you into wasting the rest of the day.
There is more than sufficient time in your university day to go to your contact hours, do your reading, research and note-taking while leaving sufficient time in the evenings for a social life. Remember that planning your day and time management are the keys to a successful transition between work and play at university.