Written by Lauren Bishop
MSc Public Health
BU is a great university that offers all sorts of ways to support and enhance your studying experience. Here are my top tips on optimising your study experience:
1. Find your preferred study environment
Where you work can have a big impact on your productivity. Do you work best at home, at uni, or perhaps somewhere a bit different like a coffee shop or even an outdoor environment? If getting out of the house is important to you, BU offers a range of spaces for you to study in. These include several open access computer areas, silent study areas and student lounges where you can gather with classmates. Each has a different vibe and it’s worth spending some time in different study environments to find out which you work best in.
2. Use study support opportunities
Here at BU, there are plenty of ways to enhance your study skills. This starts with the Study Skills tab on myBU (the student portal), which contains a wealth of information on referencing, reading & writing skills, presentations, statistics, revision and more. You can also attend workshops on these topics, or book a 1:1 appointment with your department’s study skills adviser. Similarly, the IT team offers 1:1 support and group workshops. These cover a range of topics from how to use Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, to running statistical analyses using SPSS. The library team also offers great support (see below!).
3. Take full advantage of the library facilities
The BU library team works hard to offer students access to an impressive range of literature; you’ll find the libraries to be well stocked with print materials, and there is access to loads more books and journals online. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask the library team and they can let you know whether you have access to it, help you find it or perhaps suggest an alternative. If you desperately need a particular journal article for an important piece of work, they may even be able to get access to it if this isn’t already available. The librarians are contactable through live online chat during working hours, and always contactable via email. You can also book a 1:1 support session with them, which is a great way to help you get to grips with online literature searching.
4. Learn a language
Studying can be intense and you may find yourself more productive if you mix up your compulsory studies with a different type of learning. BU offers lots of free resources to help you learn a new language, including access to online virtual lessons with Michel Thomas, and conversation clubs where you can practise your new language with native speakers. Currently on offer are French, German, Spanish, Italian, Arabic and Mandarin Chinese.
5. Take a break
Overwork leads to burnout, and more hours worked doesn’t necessarily mean getting more done. Make sure you schedule in time to relax, look after yourself and have fun. Maybe you could use this time to join one of BU’s many clubs and societies, which could mean anything from getting involved in a new sport to meeting others who share your hobby to political lobbying on something you feel strongly about to linking up with other students of the same faith as you. As well as giving you a much-needed break from studying, taking part in a club or society can also help you to feel fully immersed in the student community.
By Lauren Bishop