Top 5 Tips for a Successful University Life

Saturday, June 20, 2015

As my first year of university is coming to an end, I'm planning on how I'm going to approach second year. During my first year, there was a notable amount of ups and downs. I have learned a lot about university life. I've excelled in some things and made mistakes in others. So I'm going to fix those mistakes and continue doing anything that was successful in my second year. I came up with the 5 most important things to do :)

To all the students out there, you may find some helpful tips that you can apply to your uni life, no matter which year you're in ^^ Let's get started:

1. Adopt a healthy, regular sleep habit
Image result for sleeping animals

This is the most important tip ever. Out of all of these tips, I'd be very happy if you could at least follow this one. The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7-9 hours of sleep (6-11 hours may be appropriate) for young adults (18-25 years). Some awesome benefits of sleep are clearer thinking, better concentration & focus, better memory, and stronger immunity. 

I am very aware of this because on days where I had less than 6 hours of sleep, I couldn't focus at all and I'd ALWAYS fall asleep in the morning lectures (it's embarrassing oh gosh, people from behind laugh at me. Luckily my boyfriend always wakes me up...). My mood swings kicked in. All I wanted to do was go back to bed or smack someone in the head. 

On the other hand, when I had over 9 hours of sleep (yes I can be a sloth haha), surprisingly, I feel even worse. I'd feel groggy and disoriented all day. There would seem to be a heavy fog over me, pushing on my head. It does not feel good at all I'm telling you. Too much sleep can be detrimental.

Whereas on days where I had 6-9 hours of sleep, I could concentrate on the lectures and actually learn something. I would wake up feeling refreshed and generally be in a good mood throughout the whole day. I'd accomplish everything I wanted to do with ease.

Remember: Sleep in the recommended amount of hours every night. Not too much, not too little. This includes the weekends too! Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. This will help your body adjust to a regular sleep pattern. Getting enough quality sleep will make your day a lot better!

2. Study ahead of time

The last thing you want to do is cram for your exams, trust me. This is a mistake I made very recently - I crammed the hardest module (biochemistry) 3 days before the exam. Yes, very stupid of me. By the time I sat down for the exam, my head felt so heavy and fuzzy. Even though I could answer most of the questions, my writing could have been a lot better had I studied ahead of time (and had enough sleep). 

Now that the exam is over, all I remember from those 3 days are a blur of sleep deprivation, rushed revision sessions in the library, and a load of stress.

On the contrary - in the last semester, I prepared for an exam ahead of time and got a really good grade. I started revising about a month before the Cell Biology exam. I scored 99%, while most people scored around 60-80%.

What you could do is schedule a study session every week (or every other week) where you go over the material covered from the week(s). Then in the next session, go over the old material and the new ones. Keep doing this until exams time. This way, it allows you to repeat and memorise the material which will go into your long-term memory.

Remember: Learn and revise the material well before the exam. It will save you from a crazy, unnecessary amount of stress and sleep deprivation.

3. Plan your day

When you're in university, you'll find out that there are so many more things you have to do on a regular basis - more deadlines to remember, more coursework, lectures to attend, etc. This isn't high school/sixth form; ain't nobody gonna be taking your attendance or reminding you of deadlines.

It's your responsibility to attend those lectures and hand in work on time. The best thing to do is write down all the important dates and plan your day. Get a weekly calendar or planner and write down exactly what you have to do each day. This includes lectures, labs, gym time, study sessions, laundry, meal times etc. (Yes, since your timetable is likely to change every week, you have to plan when you want to eat.)

An example of my typical uni day plan:

8:30 am - 10 am: Get ready & breakfast
10 am - 11 am: Molecular Biology lecture
11 am - 12 pm: Physiology lecture
12 pm - 2 pm: Lunch
2 pm - 4 pm: Biochemistry lecture
4 pm - 6 pm: Gym with bae
6 pm - : Dinner & study & complete coursework

My schedule changes every day. I plan my day based on when my lectures are for that particular day.

I have been planning my days for as long as I remember and it keeps me really organised. It's good to wake up and know what you have to do for the day, you feel? The important thing is you should also follow your plan. Yes I do admit there are some days I don't do everything as planned due to laziness or waking up late (hehe ^^"). But that's okay, as long as you complete the essential things like handing in coursework before the deadline and going to exams (and labs/practicals if you're in a science course).

Remember: Plan your day and follow through. It will keep you organised and make your life a lot easier :)

4. Join clubs & societies

University isn't just about lectures, coursework and exams. Every uni offers a variety of clubs and societies that you can join. Sports/varsity clubs, international societies, political & campaign clubs, art societies (band, photography), you name it. Pick the ones that you're most interested in or try something new! It's a great opportunity to meet new people and gain amazing experiences.

Also, it will look good on your CV if you are looking for a job or applying to postgraduate degrees. Being a part of clubs/societies shows that you're a well rounded person and you're able to work as a team.

I've always been involved in extracurricular activities in school and I guess I wanted a little break in my first year at university and to adjust to uni life, so I haven't really joined any in my first year. But I will definitely join more clubs and societies in my second year.

Remember: Find clubs and societies your uni offers by going to university fairs in the beginning of the year. Join as many as you want. You'll meet lots of new friends who have the same interests as you and it's gonna be a fun experience!

5. Enjoy it!

Not all the lessons you learn will come from books or lectures; in fact, few of them will. University is the time to discover more about yourself and learn about what you like and dislike. It's okay if you mess up sometimes, but learn from those mistakes. Time will fly by really fast, so enjoy every moment of your university life.
Remember: Don't stress too much. Study hard but also have fun!

With love,


P.S. I do not own these photos.

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  1. This is so helpful!! I'm not in uni yet, but this basically gives me some insight ^__^

    Linxnee-Beauty, Fashion, Lifestyle

  2. Great tips! I find planning the week really helps get things done. I like to write down to-do list and events so I can stay on track.

    1. Thanks! Yeeh I agree with you, it keeps me organised too :)

  3. Love these tips! I'm starting my second semester in two weeks and I'm already hyped for it.

    Hannie Arden from