BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide to Becoming a Good Student: Week 3

Just to start off today by saying a big CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who received GCSE results todaY! I’m sure you all did brilliantly and are ready to take the next step in your academic careers as A-Level students 🙂

BookMuffin’s Beginners Guide on Becoming a Good Student has been specifically designed for those of you who are venturing to university/college, or those of you who are already students and want to become a bit more organised.

This week’s topic is: Organizing your Free Time

So I thought I should focus my topic on all round student today, whether you are GCSE, A-Level or University. Organisation is very important in every aspect of life, whether it’s organising school, home, work life or even just organising a birthday party. With anything, you need to know how to use your free time wisely to get the perfect balance in your lifestyle.

Personally, I will be drawing on my A-Level experiences, as well as talking about how I plan to use my time at university, as well as good and points to what I have already tried and tested.

When studying GCSEs, you don’t get a lot of free periods, because you are doing so many courses and have to fit a lot of work into one day. With GCSEs, I tended to do a lot of work at home, because that was my only free time, but I also had to make sure I had plenty of time to myself as well. My recommendations for this situation would be:

  • Go to school- I know this seems like a pretty obvious one, but make sure you turn up to all of your classes, take down all of your notes and do all of the homework set. It may seem like a bit of a drag, but you will thank me in the end!
  • Do you homework- Another given really! With me, I tended to use lunch break to get a bit of work done. I know that may be time to catch up with your friends, but you will have more time in the evening if it gets done early. I used to have the first 15 minutes of my lunch break to eat and chill a bit after morning classes, then use the library to get a small bit of homework done. you may not make a huge dent in your workload, but at least it’s something! Hint: being a librarian helped me, because I was allowed to eat in the library and do my duty while I was working!
  • Use your evening time. You finish school at 3:30-4:00pm, and then have dinner at 6? That’s about an hour and a half to be catching up on things you didn’t manage to finish. You may even be able to complete everything and have time to yourself for the rest of the day until bed. If you do end up working for the rest of the night, make sure you give yourself a break at some point! Get into bed at 8:00 and read a book or watch Netflix. You can’t work al the time and you have to have some downtime to yourself at some point. Don’t overload yourself!

In college, you may find yourself saying that, because you have less courses to do, you will have more free time… Wrong! I hate to break it to you, but you will have a lot of work to do at A-Level! Here is what I did whilst struggling through my A-Levels:

  • Use free periods- You won’t have lessons all the time, and you should use your free time throughout the day to make sure you get your work done. The day won’t be much longer than your school day, and if you manage to get your work done during these times, you will have the whole evening to yourself. How nice is that?!
  • Don’t stray- What I mean by this is, don’t think, because you don’t have classes until 2pm, you can roll out of bed at 1pm and still make it on time. Keep a steady waking schedule, so you get up and you are ready at the same time everyday (maybe you could treat yourself on a Friday if you have a meeting slot for Student Council you don’t plan on attending!) If you know you have work to do, get into college and do it, no matter what time your classes start. At my college, we had the top floor dedicated to silent work, and you not realise the wonders of that until you need somewhere really quiet to work! You will get so much done, and have that all important time in the evening to yourself.
  • Stay in college- Once you have started the day in college at 9am or whatever, don’t leave the campus unless you have to get lunch or visit you grandma. If your friends are going to town to sit around and do nothing, and you know you have work to do, say ‘no’. That is such an important word! If you have bucket loads to do, don’t think it is ok to go for a wonder and waste time. Chances are you will spend unnecessary money in town anyway, soothes tactic saves you that as well. If you need to stretch your legs, you can always walk to the canteen and grab a water or a cup of tea. Sometimes a change of scenery works well, and if people are in class, there will be less people around to distract you.

University will be a bit harder to write about because I haven’t officially started, but I will try my best to break down what I plan on doing, and I’ll let you know if I stick to it!!:

  • Wake up at the same time everyday- I said this about college, but it’s always good to stick to a good sleeping routine, because you will feel a lot less tired if you know you are getting the right amount of sleep. Don’t wake up too late tough, because you have just wasted half the day when you could have been doing something productive!
  • Exercise- Wake yourself up by going for a jog or doing some sit ups (if you can’t afford a gym membership on a student budget) Your brain will be awake and so will your body, and you will probably be less tempted to go back to bed!
  • Start uni day at the same time- Again, if your class/lecture isn’t until 2pm, make sure you use that valuable time in the morning to go over some notes for your upcoming seminar or get some personal reading in. Reading will help to wake your brain up and get it running before class. The library is a priceless place to spend your time (and as bookworms, why would you want to be anywhere else!) and is there for a reason, so use it wisely!!
  • After classes- Take notes during classes and workshops and go over them briefly after class to make sure they are in your mind. Even if it’s just half an hour, have a read over them, make sure you understand everything. If you don’t, highlight it and talk to your teacher at an appropriate time, which leads me onto…
  • Use workshop and office time- Your teachers will have times when they are open to students asking them questions about work, whether it’s just to clarify something or go over something you didn’t understand, they are always there during those times to help you, so use and abuse them (not your teachers, office hours!) Workshop times are more for creative students, they will be used as a space to complete coursework and portfolio work. You will have access to facilities that you won’ have in your dorm room, so take advantage of this time too!

I hope this has been helpful and you are able to use your time wisely! Don’t forget, all work and no play makes for an unhappy person, so make sure you get that free time in for yourself, as long as you get your work done as well!

Good luck, happy Thursday and happy blogging!

Jade 🙂

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