It’s almost December now and the libraries start getting packed with students who desperately try to catch up with their courses. I know that juggling university and personal life isn’t the easiest task, so here are some tips on how to handle university without losing your mind, written by an average student who cares a lot about leisure time. If you have any other tips, feel free to comment them below!

Optimize your time management
Studying at a university where attendance isn’t required gives you the freedom and responsibility to manage your time on your own terms. Thus you need to be smart about how you spend your days, weeks and months. No one is going to punish you if you sleep until noon or procrastinate on doing your revision. I won’t suggest sitting up your time at uni all day long though, in fact, I only attended about two-third of my lectures during the past three years. Why? Because there’s no point for me to listen to a monotonous voice that makes me sleepy within seconds when I could spend this time studying on my own. Each semester, I give every lecture a few chances, but if I don’t get anything out of it, I won’t go there in the long run. 

Chunk down bigger tasks
Sometimes, the problem isn’t the workload itself, but the mass of it. You feel like there is too much to do in just a short amount of time, so you don’t know where to start. In that case, it’s advisable to take a few minutes to break down all of your tasks into small chunks and spread them over the days and weeks. Every time I do this, I feel less overwhelmed and much more in control. Even though you won’t always be able to follow your plan straight forward, the fact of having a plan feels comforting. Adjustments can always be made in the course of the study process.

Find your balance
Being an impeccable student won’t do you any good if you feel burned out and never take some time for yourself. I find my balance in the gym and I usually still work out during my exam period. When things get really intense and I feel like I need to extend the lengths of my study sessions, I go to the gym less frequently during these times. In that case, I remind myself that some leisure time is better than no leisure time at all.

Find your ideal place to study
Going to the library truly revolutionized my studying and hence my grades. Seriously, I bet my first two semesters would have been much more successful if I would’ve visited the library frequently. At home, I get distracted way too easily and it drives me crazy to spend leisure time at the same spot where I regularly torture myself with university stuff. Some others, however, may prefer studying in their own room while wearing pyjamas and sipping a cup of coffee. Find out what works best for you!

Set yourself ambitious, yet realistic goals and write them down
The vast majority of people don’t write down their goals. Yet setting clear goals and writing them down is an essential part of success, not only academically. I always try to set my goals a little bit higher than what I believe I’m able to accomplish at my very best. Then I try to live up to those goals I set for myself. And no, I don’t always achieve the grades I wanted to have, yet I strongly believe that I still perform better than I would have if I had no goals in the first place. I already started using this method during my last semester of High School and I’m not surprised that it was my most successful semester in six years.

Keep in mind that a failed exam isn’t the end of the world
Let’s face it, getting a bad grade sucks. Failing an exam sucks even more. Let yourself be dramatic about it for a couple of days, but then move on. You need to remind yourself that a failed exam or even a failed last attempt isn’t the end of the world. Something that really helped me regarding bad grades and failed exams is the thought of how much this situation is going to bother me in five years. – Most likely, I won’t give a damn.

So now I will shut up about university for a while. I wish you a successful semester and strong nerves during your exam period! You can do it!

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