When I was asked this question I was a bit stumped actually. I hadn’t really stopped to think what it is that I would do differently or what has or hasn’t worked, it has just been a slow evolving process.
Then I made myself stop and think and well… even though that hurt late on a Wednesday night… these are the things I would tell my first year self.
Pic Source: memegenerator.com
Plan for the unexpected
Stay ahead of the LMS weekly online content, and the readings. I know it’s something we hear all the time, but if we do this, we are less stressed about it and we absorb the information a whole lot better. Plus, it means if you need to take an extra shift at work, or you get sick, you are not going to fall behind. In my case both my kids got the dredded vomiting bug which resulted in a week of lost sleep and a mountain of washing. It was a massive week of catch up and I just didn’t absorb the content as well. From then on, I have kept a little ahead for weeks like this.
Pic Source: 5power.org
Take weekly study notes
I find it helpful to write out the learning outcomes for that week and answer them in my own words on study cards. Including diagrams on them and even writing my own test questions on the content really helps the information stick. Each week builds on the next so keeping on top of this, helps me better understand the next weeks content. Towards the end of semester, these cards are invaluable. I am not a crammer so this works for me. Find out what works for you and stick to it.
Pic Source: uloop.com
Attend your workshops
Yep it sounds simple, but it motivates you to keep up with the online content, helps you consolidate what you are learning AND your workshop facilitators quite often give you loads of tips on how to apply these new skills.
Other students have a different way of approaching something too. Hearing how others perceive the same content I am learning can keep me on the right track. You really don’t know if you are understanding the content in the right way if you don’t talk to others about it. You don’t want to wait for feedback on your learning via your essay worth 40% of your final grade only to realise you are getting it wrong.
Pic Source: experimental3D
First year is skill building
First year really builds on skills like critical thinking and research, so even though some assessments may seem pointless to your end goal… they are actually building skills that will set you up for success in the remaining years of your study and professional life. So don’t get too annoyed when you are wondering “What is the point of this assessment?” just know that it is sometimes not the content of the question or essay that is important, but the skills you are developing to research and critically evaluate in order to answer the question.
Pic Source: memegenerator.com
We would love to hear from you too! Leave a comment below with what you would tell your first year self. Have a great week everyone!