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How to survive university

by Archives October 16, 2007

Many students, especially those new to university life, know what it means to be stressed.
They know what it means to work hard to achieve their goals and they know that university is no easy task to complete.
So, how can students ensure the best possible university experience? How can students succeed without the headaches and stress that seem to be the norm now-a-days?
Simple. Just follow a few golden rules.

Rule #1 – Take a deep breath
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with but a single step.” – Chinese proverb

It’s your first day of class and you’re looking at that thin piece of white paper called a course outline.
This one little piece of paper is what will control the next 13 weeks of your life.
Beads of sweat start to form as you glance through the one, two, or three sheets of the outline and you see all the work that is expected of you in the weeks to come.
How can I do this, you think. Well the answer is you can’t.
There is no way you can do everything on that outline at once and be successful.
So don’t worry about the 50 per cent assignment due in week 12. Concentrate on what you have to do now and don’t worry about the obstacles to come.
So take a deep breath and relax. Right now, all you have to do is take that single step. Cross the next bridge when you get to it.

Rule #2 – Manage your time
“You will never “find” time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” – Charles Bruxton

Create a schedule for each day. Include which assignments you will be working on that day.
Time isn’t going to slow down for you if your assignment is due in less than 24 hours and you have yet to begin.
Make a schedule for the week before you start that week and plan to do every assignment twice.
Twice? “I don’t even want to do it once,” right?
Take into consideration that schedules sometimes cannot be maintained at 100 per cent.
Things may come up and if you stray from your schedule, you will most likely never get back on track.
Write down two possible times to do a specific assignment, so if it doesn’t work out the first time, you know you have scheduled in a back-up plan just in case.
This should help you deal with the unexpected and keep you on the right track.
Don’t forget to include somewhat of a balance in your schedule.
Make time for a personal life with friends and family.
Don’t let your life become all about school or work. The best way to do well in university is to lead a balanced life.

Rule #3 – You made the schedule now stick to it!
“The best way to get something done is to begin.” – Anonymous

Now that you’ve gone to all the trouble of making yourself a schedule, try sticking with it.
There’s no point in making a schedule if you won’t follow it.
If your schedule says today is the day you get to work, then do yourself a favour and get to work.
Those assignments won’t write themselves.
And thinking about doing your work and actually doing it are two very different things.
You can procrastinate if you want to. Just keep in mind that although you are taking a break, time is not.

Rule #4 – Don’t let stress control you
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you can not do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” – Luke 12:25-26

You can stress out about all the work you have to do, but stress won’t get your work done or change what is to be done.
Instead, it can only make it harder for you to work and complete your tasks.
It isn’t stress that kills us, but our reaction to it.
There is nothing you can do about the work that is expected of you.
It must be done, so do it. And when in doubt, refer back to Rule #1 and take a deep breath.

Rule #5 – Don’t be so hard on yourself
“No one dies from working too hard. But when people don’t get any recognition in their work, the stress of that lack of control can kill them.” – Barrie S. Greiff

Maybe no one else will commend you on a job well done, so before you start to feel like you’ve worked so hard for nothing, give yourself a pat on the back.
If you’ve managed to get your work done well and still keep your sanity and somewhat of an active personal life, then congratulate yourself.
University is tough, life is tough. No one ever said it would be easy, but at least recognize your own work and efforts and, when possible, encourage or congratulate a friend who has also worked hard.
So after following the five golden rules, your university experience may just be that much better.
It isn’t easy but it’s not impossible. And sometimes what we need to do is so simple.

“Relax. Take it easy.” – Mika

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