University is like a head spin you get when you stand up too quickly. You have no clue what just happened and the experience is a bit of a blur. However, unlike a head spin, university is a wonderful, challenging and worthwhile experience where you get the chance to learn, make new friends, and receive outstanding opportunities.
My university journey began straight after year 12 in March 2015. I come from a very outgoing and confident family. Any challenge we encounter we try and try until we overcome it. University was just another challenge I had to face. Although I appeared ready and confident, inside I had many questions and emotions. Was I ready to learn challenging content? Could I manage my study, work and social life? Could I make new friends? I felt uncertain that I could accomplish my goals and complete my degree, but as I worked through each course and assignment, my questions were answered and I gained valuable insight into the secrets of success.
My first year at university involved a lot of adjustment – learning new content in an unusual way, managing time differently, making new friends and so on.
In my second year, I began to slide into a pattern. I discovered the appropriate methods of accomplishing tasks that suited me and became more involved with the university.
The third year of my degree is where everything clicked. It was more challenging but more interesting. I got to learn content that I was interested in.
In my final year, I was working three part-time jobs, studied full time, managed a busy social life and played sports. This last leg was tough but extremely worthwhile. I got through these years with a lot of caffeine, snacks and the following secrets.
Secret 1 – Preparation
Preparation, it sounds simple and cliché but being prepared and getting yourself organised is key to success. You cannot just caffeinate and hope for the best. Do not get me wrong, coffee, tea and the occasional red bull is what got me through several assignments, classes and late night study sessions, but it was the preparation that drove my success.
Plan out when your assignments are due, organise your days, weeks and months, allocate specific time for tasks and map out your social life. Being prepared, organised and using your time effectively is the foundation of success. You will be able to accomplish more if you master the art of preparation.
Secret 2 – Adapt
Everyone is different and there are some ways of doing things that work for you but will not work for others. For example, I like to do my assignments at least one week before they are due. Whereas my friend is great under pressure and can complete a 4000-word essay in a night and will still achieve a High Distinction.
Find your fit and adapt to different methods. Try unconventional ways, change up how you study and who you study with. Know what your strengths are and work on your weaknesses. Utilise the university services such as the ALC, Student Mentors, PASS and so on. Talk to people about what works for them. If you are still struggling to find yourself and adapt, jump on Google and Pinterest and search different ways to study.
Ultimately, success will be achieved if you know yourself. Being prepared is beneficial, but there is no use in being prepared if you are completing the assessment in a way that is not going to be effective. Be adaptive. Find out what works for you.
Secret 3 – Goals & Vision
Develop your vision. Plan out short term and long term goals. Try and try again until you achieve those goals. If you have a set vision you will more likely succeed. At university, every term, re-evaluate and readjust your goals and vision. Make sure you are on track to what you want.
Having a direct goal is a way to make sure you are going to get things done. If your goal is not achieved, try again. Adjust it. Change the way you do things, and know yourself.
In my first year, my goal was to get top marks for everything. However, halfway through term one, I realised I need to put more effort into studying to achieve those goals. So I re-evaluated. My new goal was to achieve 10-15 hours of study each week for each class. I aimed to achieve 80% and higher in all my assessments. In term 2 I accomplished these goals and re-evaluated again. Next, it was time to incorporate other things like volunteer work. Every person will have a different vision and goal. Choose yours and stick to it.
My university journey was a rollercoaster ride. Fun, challenging, sad, and happy and every other sentiment you can think of. Be prepared, find your fit, and have a vision. The most important thing above all of these is to always find a reason to smile. Life is short. We are not here for a long time, we are here for a good time. Caffeinate, snack and succeed.
Lucy Stafford is a recent graduate of CQUniversity and is now an Administration Officer within the Student Representative Council Team at CQUni. After completing a four year full time degree, Lucy has gained excellent knowledge in managing study, work and social activities .