Let me preface this by saying, these tricks are just things that work for ME. They are, by no means, the ONLY way to do things in University to succeed. But hopefully, having some insight into how a peer manages their things will give you inspiration to do something similar or even just figure out what works well for you!

So here’s a list I’ve composed of some the things that I feel like you ought to know/be reminded of while studying at University!

  • It’s Okay To Say No

I will be the first one to admit that I suffer from major F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out). So whenever I’m invited to do anything, no matter how irrelevant, I always say yes. For some reason, I have myself convinced that all the exciting/interesting/unforgettable events always happens when I’m not around! Which honestly, is rarely true.

But I’ve begun working on saying no more often. I know that it’s easy to get engrossed in socializing as much as you can, especially when you first arrive at University and want to experience everything! Trust me, been there done that. But sometimes, you have got to prioritize things you need to do before things you want to do.

So yeah, maybe going on that Burger King run at 3 a.m. would make an awesome teenage memory, but you know what else would be pretty awesome? Starting that assignment that’s due in two days.

All I’m saying is, prioritize your education sometimes. You’re paying thousands of dollars for it. Don’t throw that all away.

  • Find a Study Place

This one is so so important! I cannot stress enough how much having the perfect environment to do work in can effect your productivity. Now, I’m not saying find some obscure, shaded area in a park to seek solace in (unless this is the kind of place that’s perfect for you). But somewhere where you feel comfortable and where the vibes mesh well with you.

That place for me is Kate Edgar! Only a ten minute walk from Whitaker Hall, and situated right in the middle of where all my lectures are located on City Campus, it couldn’t be more perfect for me. I always go to the fourth floor and try to get a cubicle there. Unfortunately, Kate’s often filled to capacity during the day so when I can’t grab a cubicle, I just go to the end of the room and sit on the light blue couches. I love people-watching through the windows beside the couches while taking a break so it’s a win-win situation.

If you need more than just a study space though, don’t worry, Level 3 of Kate Edgar has computers. If you get the UoA Library app on your phone, you can book a computer for as long as you need it.

  • Keep Organized Notes!

Okay so I know some people prefer handwriting notes but I’m a simple person; I don’t have the energy to carry multiple notebooks, course textbooks, and any other material I might need, just for a lecture.

So that’s where laptops come in. At the beginning of the semester, I created four folders on my desktop for each course that I’m taking. And in each folder, I saved the course syllabus and past exam papers (which can be found of the Library webpage). It’s handy to give the course syllabus a read before the beginning of the semester so that…
A) You know the requirements of a course.
B) It’ll tell you if the course offers plussage. Plussage is when a student can have their final exam grade be worth 100% of their final grade for a course if they’ve met certain course requirements, such as doing all the assigned work and at minimum, passing them.
C) You know where your professor’s and tutor’s office hours are. Office hours are often overlooked but guys, don’t take them for granted!! If you ever have an assignment, I highly recommend finishing it a couple days in advance and going to office hours to go over your work with the lecturer/tutor. They can’t read your work for you but if you say what you’ve written out loud, they can tell you if you’re missing anything, what to add/remove to make it better, and just give you an inside scoop that’s otherwise not available during lectures.

As for past exam papers, I like to print two or three out at the beginning of the semester and as we cover each unit in a course, try to answer the correlating questions in the papers. Exam questions are often repeated every year, so along with applying what I’ve learned in lectures, I’m also getting a head start on reviewing for finals.

When each week of lectures pass, I add a new week folder to the course folders, with the corresponding Powerpoints used during the lectures of that week inside them. Now, I know some people who jot down a separate outline during lectures and compare it to the Powerpoints when studying but I can’t do that.

Keynote, on Mac, has this handy dandy “comment” button on the top of the application, where you can add a note to a bullet point. So if there ever comes a time during the lectures where my lecturer makes a comment that’s not in the Keynote, I jot it down in “comments”. It just adds a nice continuity to my notes that I would otherwise be lacking if I had the Powerpoints in one hand and an outline in the other.

  • Stay Motivated !!!

I have a bulletin board in my room that covers a huge chunk of the wall, beside my bed. While I could’ve covered it with important reminders or documents, I instead decided to take the Tumblr-ish route and plastered it with inspirational quotes/things that make me happy. It’s one of the first things I see when I wake up, and one of the last when I go to bed. While I hold all the quotes close to my heart, it’s the one in the center that I find myself repeating over and over in my head throughout the day.

“She designed a life she loved.”

Someday in the future, I will come across these blueprints I constructed during my University days. I hope that, as I unfold them and lay them out before me, a content smile will wash over my face as I realize; I’d built everything I’d ever hoped to.


“Fall seven times, stand up eight” – Japanese Proverb