Things I’m going to do better next Semester


After exams is a sort weary relief. On the one hand you’re ecstatic that it’s over, on the over hand, you’re terrified about what score you’ve gotten. To cut a long story short, when I received my score at the end of last semester, I was pretty bummed out with what I got. I’m not going to say that the semester was a complete waste, but I wasn’t looking forward to explaining to my parents what I got.

I love the life I lead, but I do have some lifestyle issues that have a) given me shit uni results and b) made me somewhat unhealthy. It has gotten to the point that at the end of last semester I had forgotten what it was like to be operating at 100%, I was always thinking in a sort of haze. Not only that, but I also got sick twice in Summer/Autumn, which is unusual for me. So I’ve come up with a few guidelines I want to start following (in no particular order):

  1. Go to bed at 10:30, so I can be asleep at 11:00. Last semester I had a girlfriend who works night times, often only getting home at around 1am, or only leaving at 12am. Although she never asked me to, I always wanted to stay up to say hi to her when she finished her shift. I guess I was in the phase of the relationship when I was really excited to see her anytime, for any amount of time. This worsened my pre-existing inclination to stay up really late. It got to the point where I considered going to bed at midnight to be a huge achievement.
  2. Strictly at least be in bed before midnight on a normal night. When I say normal, this means when I’m not going out, or some event is happening.
  3. Get up at 7. I know for a fact that I only got up before 9am a few times last semester because breakfast ends at 9am, and I was almost never at breakfast. 10am was much more common for me. But this was the start of a bad day. If I get up at 10, I’ll go on the Internet or watch some tv for half an hour to an hour (honestly: probably more) then go have lunch at 12:30. This leaves me with only four hours of productivity (since tea is at 5:30 and doing work just before tea is painful). I’m also not a fan of doing serious work after tea, so already, my potential productive time was shit house. I could do work after tea, but if I did, this would worsen my staying up late problem, meaning at I sleep in more, meaning that I stay up later, etc.
  4. Do some exercise when I wake up. This is related to the last point. When I was in my phase of jogging in the mornings I was the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. Not only from being fitter from the exercise, but doing physical activity first thing in the morning makes the rest of the day seem so good. You’re more alert, the endorphins make you feel happy, you’re less tired. You’re just feeling great all round, it’s something I want to get into. In contrast, my house mate going jogging at 10PM in the middle of the city. Other than the fact that it’s super dangerous, you’re not getting the awesome views (because I really do live in a nice area) and exercising that late makes it hard to sleep.
  5. Attend all classes, no matter how boring they are. Some are honestly torture. Even if I fall asleep I want to at least be present. I always say to myself I can just catch up, but it’s not the same. Information doesn’t sink in as when just watching lecture recordings, and just reading the text-book is even worse.
  6. Read the material before the lecture. I know this one might be shooting myself in the foot a bit (making the lectures MORE boring? What are you thinking Tom!?) but being lost in a lecture is no fun. I think I learn more in a lecture if I already have a kind of idea of what’s going on. This doesn’t mean I need to know the material. Just be aware of it. It also means that I can ask questions if there’s something I don’t understand. Because it’s not like I can ask my textbook when I’m reading it later.
  7. Friday is a review day. This coming semester I have Friday off and I figure that makes it a perfect day for reviewing what I’ve learnt during the week. Each Friday I want to write-up a summary of what I’ve learnt during the week. This will serve two purposes, firstly, it’s easy to miss so information. I hate looking at past exams and wondering if we were even taught what’s being tested (fun fact: sometimes, because the course changes, we weren’t). And secondly having a summary of what was taught each week should be helpful for revision at the end of the semester.
  8. Fridays are also for working out what tutorial prep work needs to be done during the week. Because tutorials can be so spasmodic, I often forget to do tutorial prep work. So Fridays are also for working out when tute work needs to be done by (although I don’t actually need to do it then, although, if I do, that’s cool too?). Lets go even further and say that Fridays are also for finding out when all my work is due. A quick check on how close my assignments are to being done, compared to how close they are to being due.
  9. Sundays are for doing constructive things, not related to uni. As the end of the semester neared and I was realized how ill prepared I was I compensated by studying ALL THE TIME (this was actually probably something closer to a normal uni workload and I just wasn’t used to it) and I was getting frustrated that I had no time for projects that I wanted to do. Sometimes these projects were writing related (in another life, I wanted to be a writer) sometime programming related, and sometimes they were simple things like “doing the laundry”. Although leaving the laundry until I literally have no underwear left is kind of exciting, I would like some time to stop thinking about uni and feel going about things I do.
  10. Aim to have Big Assignments done a week in advance. Yep, A WHOLE WEEK. So that if something comes up, like illness, or a surprise assignment that got through I’m not totally screwed.
  11. Start assignments as soon as I get them, if I don’t know how to do it yet, learn. Last semester I was given an assignment and told that we didn’t yet know how to complete it. Well, to my slacker brain that was all the excuse it needed to completely forget about it. Meaning that when we finally had learnt how to do it, the assignment had slipped my noticed and gone to low priority.

So, if you’re still with me, what do you think? Will these help me get my uni career back on track? Are some of these stupid, do you have any better ideas, or things I should add?

Reader Question: what should I do on Saturdays?

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