Not flunking uni: it seems like such a simple goal when you’re bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in week one with your fresh, clean notebooks and your new uni clothes and your will to live—then all of a sudden it’s week seven and you’re somehow ten weeks behind and you have a million lectures to watch and you don’t even know how to access your readings and you’ve got three tests and four assignments coming up and now you’re thinking stripping doesn’t sound that bad after all.
Remarkably, I’ve made it to my third year without failing a subject (Ps get degrees, Ps get degrees, Ps get degrees). I can’t sit here and give you tips on how to get straight HDs or ace every single test, but I can give you advice on how to avoid failing your subjects.
Actually go to your classes
I know lectures are recorded and put online. And I know some classes don’t have attendance requirements. And, yes, I know that it’s way more convenient to sit at home in your undies with week-old leftover Indian food while your lecture plays in the background than it is to actually put some clothes on and sit in a musty lecture hall for an hour or two. But seriously, I learned the hard way that you’ll do so much better if you go to class whenever possible. It may be less convenient, but it’s so much easier to pay attention when your mum isn’t telling you to clean your room or your housemate isn’t blasting the ABBA Gold Greatest Hits album at full volume in the next room (it’s me, I’m your housemate). Plus it gives you the chance to ask questions if you have any.
On that note, ASK QUESTIONS!
There’s that common saying “there are no stupid questions”, but let’s be real: there are tons of stupid questions, and yours may very well be one of them. Chances are, though, lots of people in your lecture/tute/seminar/lab/wherever the hell else you might be have the exact same question. Plus, who really cares? You’ll most likely never see those people again—and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that no one really cares about you anyway so you might as well just ask the stupid question.
I know you can buy class notes online for $20 and not have to worry about listening to your lectures all semester, but it’s actually been scientifically proven that taking your own notes helps you retain the information better—bonus points for handwritten notes over typed notes! If you’re sitting in a lecture, it won’t kill you just to jot down a thing or two. It’ll make assignments and exams way easier; then at the end of the semester, you can sell your notes for money.
Stressed? Go step-by-step
I’ve spent tons of nights freaking out about assignments that I should’ve started two weeks earlier (what can I say? Gilmore Girls was calling my name). Over the years I’ve developed a very sophisticated, very scientific three-point method of dealing with assignment stress:
- Give yourself a moment to freak out. Allotted freak-out time will vary depending on your approaching deadline—it can range from one minute of panic to a whole day. But never freak out for more than a day. A couple of hours should do the trick.
- Plan. Get down to business. You’ve had your time to cry and scream and complain and stress-eat, and by the time you get to this step you’ll have realised that none of those things wrote your essay for you. Creating a step-by-step plan for writing your essay or studying for your exam is going to make it infinitely easier for you.
- Actually do the damn thing. Hands down, the worst part of doing an assignment is doing the assignment. But the sooner you do it, the sooner you’ll be free and you can treat yourself to ice cream or wine or something more student-budget-friendly like a high five.
When all else fails, coffee
Coffee is $2 from 7-Eleven and 80 cents from Coles Express. Enough said.