I went to Tasmania, Australia in 2005 and didn’t pack any jumpers. Australia was hot, right, so why should I need warm clothing? That would take up vital packing space, space I needed for important stuff, like a small football (“soccer” doesn’t exist in Australia) and a four pack of beer to present to my new housemate as a “g’day”.
When I landed in Tassie, the sun was shining brilliantly, as expected, but an altogether unexpected sight greeted me – a snow capped mountain. It turns out Tassie can get quite cold, and with September being the start of spring (winter ends in August), it was indeed cold. Needless to say my board shorts and tee shirts were ill advised attire for such weather conditions.
Preparation is absolutely key to any activity you undertake. Going to university is no different. You will have a lot to prepare just to get ready for living away from home. The academic requirements may be furthest from your mind. You will have so much else going on that this requirement may take a back seat. However, you should be mindful that hitting the ground running can make or break your uni career. Prepare yourself to study well and you will be successful.
We at Kloodle have put together 5 productivity hacks so you hit the ground running at university. Lets get crackin’
1. Don’t take notes in lectures
Note taking is akin to urinating into a gale force wind. It is a passive activity. You feel productive but you aren’t actually. Instead, try to identify a revision list. Make notes of the key ideas (you should have at MAX 8 sentences by the end of the lecture – half an A4 piece of paper). This will serve as a guide to follow up afterwards. Listen to the lecture properly whilst making these bullet points.
2. Rule of 3
There are 3 facets to gaining knowledge at university – Lecture, Notes, Questions. Step 1 – attend the lecture and make a revision list (see above). Step 2 – consolidate the lecture’s topics by reading in a text book. Step 3 – find questions on your topic and answer them. In order to truly display knowledge, you will need to actively use it. Questions are the best way to use knowledge. You will engrain a topic in your brain by doing this. In third year, I skipped the note taking and just did questions. Plus, it will give you confidence that you know your stuff.
The human brain is remarkably good at filling gaps. When we read, we barely look at the letters – our brain is so used to the routine that we recognise patterns and our brain fills the gaps. When we have a concrete daily routine, we load decisions into this unconscious part of our brain. If you awake at the same time, eat the same breakfast, revise at the same time, shower at the same time, cook at the same time, walk the same routes into university, we start to use the unconscious brain and do not have to think about trivial decisions.
This allows us to focus on higher level thinking, such as learning new concepts, making new friends, forging our career and enjoying university. Make a concrete routine as soon as you get to uni and stick to it.
4. Never rely on the word of others
I used to hear “When is that assignment due for?” so much at uni. The question was pitched to a fellow student. Never EVER rely on anyone else to tell you this kind of information. Take responsibility for all of what goes on at university. Relying on others is the sure fire way to fail. Make sure you find out the correct info first hand, and from a primary source. You are then master of your own destiny.
5. One sitting.
You should complete any assignment as soon as you get it and in one sitting. This will clear it off your todo list, and prevent procrastination. Set yourself that deadline every time you are presented with an assignment. Parkinson’s law states that a task expands to fill the time you give it. How many times have you had an assignment due the next day and managed to finish it? The time pressure ensures you focus on the important elements and finish the task. Front load this mentality and get the assignment done ON THE DAY you get it. Set yourself the deadline of that night to do it. Once done, you will feel awesome. Like the guy in Speedos off the moneysupermarket advert. Or is that epic? I forget.
University can be the time of your life, a time for self discovery and forming your personality. Is that personality one dimensional? It shouldn’t be, you should be aiming to create a kick ass human being who offers plenty. Develop a killer work ethic, an insatiable appetite for new experiences, and a well rounded nature. It may be tough at times, you may not feel like it sometimes, but just do it. The hard part of any hard activity is starting. Lao Tsu said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Take that step.