How to avoid totally fucking up semester one

February 17, 2017
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Every semester starts the same. “I’ll be really organised this semester!” “I’ll hand everything in on time, get great marks and still have a social life!” “I won’t fuck this up!” But by week three all that has gone out the window.

Changing it up

For things to change, one must admit to themselves that they need to change. As the age-old saying goes, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. So, look at what you did last semester – that worked and what didn’t work? Make the obvious cuts.

Get a fucking diary and use it

Every person I know who doesn’t have a diary is disorganised and erratic. I know this because I have yelled at them to get a diary. They’re the ones in the library at 4am, crying and counting down the minutes before the assignment is due. Before you say “There’s an app for that!” the act of writing something down commits it to memory so much better than using anything electronic. If the thought of a conventional diary freaks you out, make your own. Bullet journaling (my lord and saviour) is huge and you can customise it to suit your life.

Make a schedule

Ever noticed how easy it is to do something when it’s a habit? Probably not, because you don’t even notice your habits. Getting through life is waaaaay easier if you’ve got a good routine. Get up at the same time every day, make a certain day laundry day and devote a certain day to meal prep. I get that’s it’s boring but it’s so much easier than running late, in dirty clothes and starving. Again.

Start practicing now

Practice makes perfect and to truly master the art of getting shit done, you’ve got to make mistakes and learn from them. Start using your diary now, start thinking about what behaviours let you down last semester, make a schedule of the next four shows you’re going to binge before semester starts, whatever. If you start making changes now it’ll make the couch to campus transition sooo much easier.

Make an informed decision about buying textbooks

The same question arises every semester, “Do I really need to buy the textbooks?” While this may depend on what you study, the best advice, is to go to your uni library before semester starts, find them and have a flick through. Better yet, borrow them, use them for a few weeks then decide it’s worth owning them.

Master the hacks

We all love a shortcut, amiright? One of my favourites is colour coding things per unit. So instead of having to read lecture notes, memorise unit codes and remember which book is for which unit, I just memorise the colour. Another is using those el cheapo magazine folders (which can be colour coded!) to store and divide up all your notes, readings, books, assignments.

Another lifesaver is getting a countdown app so you can see you many days you have before an assignment is due. But my favourite hack is making folders on my desktop, colour coding them and labelling them (week, date, assignment, percentage). It means I can keep all my research in one place, have a visual for when all assignments are coming up and when I finish an assignment I get the sweet satisfaction of putting the assignment folder in the corresponding unit folder and forgetting that assignment ever existed.

Print your unit guides and read them

“Wahhh, but printing things kills trees!” You know what else kills trees? You failing units and having to repeat them. Use recycled paper and deal with it. Onto reading… You don’t need to read it word for word but just spend 15 minutes going through each one, writing the dates of assignments in your diary, read the unit objectives (seriously, it saves lives) and even if you have no intentions of doing the weekly tasks, just read what you’re supposed to do.

Get a watch

I have nothing more to say on the matter.

Annabel Sweetnam-Groom

Annabel is a Journalism graduate who is completing her Law and Criminology degrees and a Modern History minor at Murdoch. She enjoys whisky, pizza, and sleeping.

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