Keeping it together
Ok, so you’ve survived VCE (and schoolies) and you’ve got your ATAR.
If the next step is uni, then you need to start thinking about what you'll need to succeed, with minimal stress.
There’s all the normal stuff to consider of course (books, computers, maybe a place to live), but there’s also the stuff you can’t see – the ‘how to stay sane’ stuff.
At uni it can be hard to make time for anything else when the workload builds up, but all-work-no-play is unhealthy, and actually detrimental to your study.
The key to success at uni is balance and time management, so consider these few things:
It is important to talk to people. We’re social creatures and interaction with others is healthy (even for introverts).
Going out and partying isn’t compulsory, but take time to catch up with friends. It will help relieve stress and put study into perspective: other things matter too. Your friends are your support network, and you can tackle the challenge of Uni life together. Just keep it balanced.
Sadly, we need money to survive at uni.
And (reality check) you probably need to earn it yourself. Amazing scholarship opportunities do exist, and will help enormously, but most students also need a part-time job.
If you’ve committed to uni you need to make study your first priority (after all, to get the job you really want you’ll need that degree) so find a job that fits around your study. You need to plan your weeks-months-year well in advance, and let your employer know you’re studying so they understand why you might not take on extra hours. If you go to work whenever you’re not at uni, you risk burning out.
Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, right? There’s a good reason for that: getting enough sleep is critical to healthy body function. The exact amount varies between people, but even night owls need their sleep. Relax during stressful times with an extra nap, but aim to have about eight hour’s continuous sleep a night. Doing an all-nighter to get your assignment finished is not a good study technique. Remember, it’s all about time-management and balance.
If this word makes you groan and reach for a block of chocolate, this section is for you.
The human body is built to move around (walking from bed to couch doesn’t count); that means exercise will impact on your study and actually help you learn.
There are many studies that link exercise to memory and attentiveness (if this information seems too good to be true, then Google it.)
If you’re not in to the gym then put on music and dance your heart out for a few tracks, walk (at a fast pace) to the shops or join a Uni sports group – Sports groups are also a great way to socialise.
Yeah, you know those funny stories about students only living on noodles and coke? Not so funny really, because what you put into your body affects general health, and how well your brain absorbs information. If noodles are the only thing you know how to cook (or apply boiling water to) then google ‘quick easy meals’ and get inspired.
Vary what you eat and take the time to prepare decent meals when you can – and if you're super time-poor, try making a double batch each time you cook and freeze half.