Produced by Estelle
BSc (Hons) Psychology
Many of us struggle during the first few months at university because the pressures of our courses, struggling with our workload and not understanding the course content amongst other new experiences. BU have helpfully compiled a list of tips and tricks in order to help you if you feel you are struggling. These really helped me in my first few months.
Ask for help.
It may seem like a simple thing and something you are told often but it really is the best way to have help with your course. Asking for help does not have to be just from your lecturer, many students in the years above you have been through the pressures you are facing and have had to learn the same topics, so if your struggling get in contact with others on the course from the years above. Find out how they learnt, ask for their explanations on topics, it may benefit you to hear about the topic from another student.
The best way that I absolutely swear by if you are struggling with your course is to read. Choose the topic you are struggling to understand, read the essential reading given by the lecturers on the course and then look for journal articles related to that topic and read them and make notes on the important information and even critically evaluate the study.
TOP TIP: Not only does reading help you understand the topic, but by finding your own research papers shows wider reading to the lecturer and learning to critically evaluate studies is a technique important for final year that will gain you higher marks, so learning this skill early will benefit you in the long run.
Create your own study environment.
When you are struggling with understanding information, you might end up getting distracted with other things and not focusing on your work. Creating an environment dedicated to studying can help you to stay focused as you learn to associate studying in that area. Having a separate area to go to when you want to relax creates a boundary that allows you to focus your mind on the task and have somewhere else to relax after you have finished studying. Try not to mix the two as you may then find it difficult to study in an area your mind has associated with relaxing.
It doesn’t seem like anything specific to help if you are struggling with your course, but having a healthy well-balanced diet helps to improve memory and concentration, which is vital for learning and understanding. Your body needs to be fed in order for you to feed your mind with knowledge. If you are struggling to afford healthy food, the best way to eat healthy is to shop at Aldi, Lidl or go to the reduced sections in supermarkets.
Starting university can be daunting, and you may forget to take a break, but adequate rest breaks are essential for your learning and wellbeing. Schedule in rest breaks during your studying or take a day off and explore the town, or sit and relax next to the beach.