Student Life

5 proactive ways make the most of a new uni term

By Olivier Guiberteau• Last updated: Nov 8, 2023
5 proactive ways make the most of a new uni term
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There is something particularly inspiring about a brand new term at university.

It provides a new opportunity for a brand new slate.

If you’re looking for ways to get organised, these 5 tips will get you ready.

Join a new social club

This must be one of the most cliched and yet tried and tested changes you can make at the start of a new term.

The first few weeks are a perfect time to try something new.

It’s when a lot of people seem to be thinking the same way, which is a great time to expand your social circle.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us about anything, it is that we are social creatures who actually quite like spending time with other people. The benefits of student groups or societies are enormous, and here are just a few of them.

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Get organised

Remember how at the end of the last term you swore that you would never let yourself become so disorganised again?

Well, that was last term - and now the hard work needs to start.

If you are one of the people who pile books and papers in the corner of a room, jots a schedule down on the back of a piece of paper that you then lose an hour later, then some organisation might be perfect for you.

Feeling rushed, lost or horribly disorganised all of the time quickly begins to seep into your daily life and has a direct impact on your mental health.

Take some time to write your to do list. Leave 10 minutes earlier for class. Start your essay a few weeks before it’s due and not 12 hours before the deadline. These are all easy ways to reduce stress in the long run.

Life is busy enough, so slow down, take stock of what you can do to make this term run smoother.

Healthy body, healthy mind

I assume some of you reading this just tensed up at the mere thought of trudging outside in winter to exercise. If you want to keep your mind healthy, however, then your body needs attention too.

After a particularly heavy night the thought of exercise sounds about as appealing as more shots of that dodgy schnapps that somebody unveiled at 3 am.

But exercise is one of those activities you never regret.

Keeping your body in good shape through movement and a healthy diet has massive knock-on effects for your concentration, mood, brain development and overall mental health.

If you struggle with motivation, why not join an exercise social club - a great way to make friends too.

Taking better notes

Attending a lecture and trying to write notes sounds simple enough, but often you are left with pages of barely readable scrawl.

Too often we frantically write everything down while not taking it in at the time. Make sure you are being smart with your note-taking - if your lecture slides are available online afterwards, focus on writing down what the lecturer is saying.

You can also think about using colours and symbols to help you keep your notes organised and concise.

Then there is the question of what happens with your notes after the lecture. Do you go over them? Re-organise them and put them in a place that’s not going to take a few hours to find later in the term?

Take some time and figure out a note-taking pattern that works for you. Your grades will thank you in the long run!

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Set some goals and plan ahead

A brand new term is the perfect time to think further along the road.

I know that as 2021 dawns, things still feel incredibly bleak. One important way of not letting your mind slip into negativity is to set clear goals for the future.

It’s important to be varied. If you only focus on career or study-related targets, life can suddenly start feeling incredible dry.

Perhaps you want to read a book every week, watch IMDB’s Top 100 Films of all Time, or learn how to not kill a plant within a few weeks of getting it.

The human brain works well with constructing long-term goals, but not quite so well with keeping up with them.

In this case, it’s always better to break them down into bitesize chunks. Make a list at the start of the week of small steps you can take towards your goals.

So as this new year and new term begins, what are you going to do differently?

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Oli lives in London and is a writer and photographer.

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