Whether you’re getting ready for your next year of studying or waiting to start the first module of your degree, there’s things you can do to prepare for university and make sure you begin with a bang.

If you’re waiting to start your degree you may wonder if there’s anything useful you should be doing. And if you’re waiting to start your next module the time-off may feel a little odd. On the one hand you’re basking in the luxury of a good night’s sleep and guilt-free Netflix binges. But, you may also feel a little lost with what to do with your time.

Read on to find out how you can relax and enjoy your time off but also use your time wisely so you’re prepared for the year ahead.

In this blog post you’ll discover:

  • The six things you should do to prepare for university. You need to rest and recharge but also start the next academic year strong
  • Whether you have a few weeks or a few months off from university, you can have a fun AND productive study break
  • A little planning and organising now will make your first few months of studying a lot easier…and be a lot more enjoyable.

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6 Ways to Prepare For University

1. Relax and practice self-care

This is probably the most important. Don’t you just wish studying felt easy and breezy and you could get through the school year feeling 100% rested with a permanent smile on your face?

*Reality check*...most of us, especially if we have work or family commitments, spend a large part of the school year feeling stressed, overwhelmed and forever in need of a cat nap.

So when you do get some time off in the summer – make sure you enjoy it!

I'm sure you don't need my help thinking of ways to relax, but here's some reminders of things you might have not had time for during the academic year!

· Catch up with your friends and family

· Go out for dinner

· Cook great food

· Read an ACTUAL book rather than a thick, dusty textbook!

· Get back to the gym

· Start running again (I keep telling myself this will happen...)

· Spend an evening, day or weekend doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING…just because you can.

Make the most of any study breaks you get so you can start the next school year recharged and ready to kick butt.

2. Start any non-study projects now

Have you been meaning to deep clean the house for awhile? Or have you been wanting to sort through your wardrobe and donate some clothes to charity?

The time off between studying is the perfect opportunity to do some of those things you just don’t have time for during your modules.

I’ve been meaning to have a good clear-out of my house for a LONG time! I am so crap at tidying: I seem to end up with bags of crap everywhere as I half-heartedly try to tidy up every now and then by shoving stuff out of sight. So I’m going to take some time before my next course starts (Creative Writing in October – I CAN’T wait!) to do a massive de-clutter and reorganise things to make life easier during term time.

So do you have any projects you’ve been meaning to start? Decorating? Planting a vegetable garden? Doing some craft work that’s been sat in the corner for months?

Now might be the time to get these underway while you have the time and brain space.

3. Plan rewards for during your study

Now the downside of relaxing lots in your university break is you might find it difficult to get back into the swing of studying. Having time off is great but it can make the first few weeks back overwhelming and you’ll probably question how you ever fit it all in before (the answer – you didn’t, but it’s fine!).

So to make the first few months of your next academic year a little easier, plan some fun treats. 

Here are three benefits to organising some future rewards now:

· You’ll have things to look forward to on days where it feels like all you do is study

· It will be easier to persevere and stay motivated knowing there’s fun treats coming

· You’ll get in the habit of celebrating your achievements (because I know you’re working damn hard).

These rewards don’t have to cost a lot or take a lot of time. You could plan them for after big assignments or exams, or for whenever as you definitely deserve treats just because! 

Here are some ideas:

· Pre-order a novel you think you’ll like – who doesn’t love surprise post!?

· Book a massage or facial to pamper yourself

· Plan a coffee or dinner date

· Book some theatre or music concert tickets with friends or family.

4. Buy some study goodies

Who doesn’t love buying stationery?

I remember the summer holidays when I was younger. My sisters and I would go into town with our Mum and we’d be allowed to choose some new school supplies. I was always so excited and would spend ages picking out the best options, normally the most garish pencil case and gimmicky pens – does anyone remember scented gel pens?!

It’s always exciting to buy something new so treat yourself to a few university supplies. I’ve just bought myself a new backpack which I’m completely in love with (let’s just all ignore the fact my next course is almost entirely distance learning so I don’t technically need a backpack!).

5. Plan your time

A key study skill to master is planning and organising your time. Get this pinned down and your study life will be A LOT easier. It’s important to record all your commitments and dates in one place, especially if you’re studying alongside working, raising a family, volunteering…etc.

Start by picking the way you want to record everything. This could be a physical planner or diary, your phone or email calendar, or even a big wall planner. A yearly wall planner is a great way to see all your important responsibilities at a glance.

Next, add in all your personal and work-related events, appointments and responsibilities to your planner or calendar. So that’s holidays, work trips, medical appointments, birthday parties…etc. Then, as you start to find out your assignment dates or exam period for your next module or modules, add these to your planner too.

Tracking all these important dates in one place allows you to see any clashes such as an essay deadline just before a family holiday, or an exam period that falls around lots of birthdays and trips.

See if you can take action now to reduce the impact of these clashes e.g. organise some time off work, move some flexible personal commitments, or arrange childcare.

Putting a simple system in place now will allow you to start the academic year in control of your schedule, rather than feeling like your days, weeks and months aren’t your own!

6. Get excited about your module or course

Some of your modules WILL be more interesting than others. I studied a few that really seemed to drag and I couldn’t wait to close my books on them.

But, you will enjoy your studying more, and are more likely to get good grades, if you prepare for university by getting interested and motivated to start learning.

Here are three things to try:

1. Write down what you’re looking forward to learning in the module

If you selected the module you must have done it for a reason so that may make answering this easier. But even if your module is compulsory, try and think of something you’re excited to learn and write it down.

I am super excited to start my Creative Writing course in October. When I was younger I wanted to be an author so much. I used to write little stories and make my teachers read them! I haven't written fiction since I was about 12 and I think I'm a little scared to start again. But I can't wait to face this fear as the course will require me to write fiction (J.K. Rowling I'm coming for ya!)

2. Browse through your books before the course starts

You may think I’m lame but I absolutely love getting my new materials for a module. I studied (and will be studying again) with the Open University and they send you a box in the post with all the textbooks for each new module. Flicking through the books and reading a few sections really gets me excited to start learning so I’d definitely recommend it. Don’t hide your books away or just use them as a doorstop until your course starts!

Engage in your course if you want to succeed.

3. Engage in the material outside your course

Look for books, articles, podcasts or documentaries you can consume now to give yourself an introduction to the material. In the breaks between my business modules I would try to read articles and posts from The Economist and Inc. magazine to keep learning (and find case study ideas for future essays)!

I don't know anything about Creative Writing so I’m looking for some books to read and podcasts to listen to so I can get a taste for the course contents. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them so please share in the comments.

You’re going to spend the next 6-9 months immersed in this subject (or subjects). Prepare for university by spending getting excited about your course so you can start the next academic year super strong.

If you’ve found this post helpful I would be so grateful if you could share it with your friends who also want to prepare for university 🙂

~ FREE TRAINING ~

How to Actually START Your Essay

Workbook + video training to take you from procrastination and overwhelm to understanding your question and mapping out your ideas with momentum. Easier, faster essay writing (and higher grades) await.

Start Your Essay

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