UMASS Blog

Where does all the time go?

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you have all had lovely Christmas’ and have had a good break from studying. This blog is centred on time management at university; hopefully there will be some useful points for you to take away for your studies in 2015.

As I study a degree in Chemistry, my time spent on campus involves a mixture of lab work as well as attending lectures. The amount of time spent in the lab alters slightly as the degree progresses but it’s usually around one third practical work, which amounts to anywhere between 8 and 12 hours a week. The rest of the time is allocated for lectures and tutorials (study sessions that are similar to seminars).

For my course, along with having to undertake formal examinations in January and June of each academic year, I also have to complete regular assignments and lab reports. This means that I have to keep on top of my course demands at all times throughout the academic year. This can be very stressful and there have been times where I’ve not managed to keep up with all of my deadlines, but even if you are struggling there is a lot of support provided by universities. For example, given mitigating circumstances deadlines can be extended to allow more time for completion.

The major difference between the way that I study at university compared to how I worked for A levels and GCSEs is that I now have to be a lot more self-motivated. It’s really up to me to keep on top of my time. I now understand this is an important life skill to learn as any job after graduating will require me to work responsibly and manage my time effectively.

I believe it’s important to keep motivated when studying for any kind of qualification. For me, my motivation when studying for A levels was that if I worked hard and got good grades I would be able to go to the university of my choice. And now whilst completing the final year of my degree, my motivation is that if I gain a good degree class I will have a much higher chance of obtaining my desired career. However, it’s not all that straightforward. Stress is a part of life and I am always sceptical when I hear someone say that they never get stressed. At the moment I am preparing for my January exams, so I have been feeling a little more overworked than usual. However, I am happy knowing that in just a few weeks the exams will be all over.

A big way that I manage to prioritise my time, which in turn helps to keep stress at bay, is by keeping a good diary. A diary helps me visualise my time. I write down all things that I need to do, such as make sure I spend time studying over a particular tricky topic in preparation for one of my exams. More importantly though, I make sure I note down the tasks that I have managed to complete each day. This helps me to keep motivated as I realise how much better I feel once I have made progress with revision. Of course there are many other ways to ward of stress during exam periods such as doing exercise, getting enough sleep and eating well.

Hopefully this blog gives you an idea of how you can expect university study to be different from the way you currently work, and has also helped you think of how you can manage your time and deal with any stress. My next blog will be published early in February and I will be writing about money at university.