Three ways to prepare for university life

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The following article is written by Jess Holsman, Deakin psychology graduate and founder of YouTube’s ‘Study With Jess’, where she gives advice to thousands of students around the world on effective study.

High school and university life differ significantly in many ways. In order to get the most out of your first year at university and ensure you are giving yourself the best chance to excel both academically and personally, it’s important you set yourself up optimally for the year ahead. While for many school-aged students this simply involves hitting up stationery stores and ensuring their pencil cases are fully stocked, preparing for university inevitably involves more than just having the right supplies!

Below are three ways to ensure you are prepared for university, so that you can get the most out of your degree and overall uni experience.

1. Get a head start

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the belief that Year 12 is your most academically demanding year is not true – well for most students, that is! While your final year of high school is certainly likely to be the most emotionally taxing due to the heightened stress levels that go with it, the workload itself is often said to be somewhat similar at university. Perhaps it may not be the case from the very start, however as you progress with your course you will no doubt encounter a greater workload. As such, it can be highly advantageous to access your course outline or unit guide a couple of weeks in advance and get a head start on your subjects’ weekly readings. Reading your texts in advance will give you a competitive edge, ensure you are up to date and coming to class prepared, and allow you to spend more of your time tending to upcoming assignments.

2. Adopt the right mindset

Your attitude towards your studies is equally as important and can influence your overall academic performance. That’s right, getting good grades requires more than just hard work! It requires a positive mindset and the right kind of attitude. Although it will not help you finish your weekly readings any faster or miraculously solve your statistics equations, a positive mindset does change how you approach your studies and can also give you the confidence boost you need to persevere and keep trying until you successfully reach your goals.

When first enrolling in a university degree, you may notice that some of the assignments are new and unfamiliar forms of assessment. When faced with the challenge to learn new skills and push oneself academically, some students become frustrated or begin to doubt their overall abilities. Remember that to successfully acquire new skills takes time and you are not expected to master your very first assignment without any of your tutor’s corrections. Aim to adopt a ‘can-do’ attitude and be open to the possibility that it may take a little while to get the hang of these new forms of assignments.

3. Remember the big picture

Signing up and committing yourself to another lengthy period of study takes serious commitment and drive! Although many university students are still trying to figure out exactly what career path to take (many adults for that matter are too!), there is typically a purposeful reason as to why each student has enrolled in a particular course. Whether you have chosen your degree because you love to be creative, want to work with children or have a desire to help others, it’s important you are aware of what it is that led you to want to engage in further study. Identifying your big-picture goal from the start will allow you to focus more on the learning process and give you a sense of purpose, along with the motivation to push through when those large assignments come around! To help you identify what is the driving force behind your reason for studying, the best place to start is with a simple yet powerful question: ‘Why is my education important to me?’ Take some time to really consider what you intend to gain from your studies and allow yourself to embrace this exciting new chapter in your life.

Best of luck with your studies!

xo Study With Jess

Check out one of my recent videos below for more study tips and inspiration!

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