Written by Editor, Graduate Prospects, October 2010
Another academic year is underway and whether this is your first or last you should take some time and think about what lies ahead.
The combination of a new term and the happy smile on your bank manager’s face thanks to your student loan might signal a new wardrobe. However running out of cash by November is a less attractive prospect.
Maggie Plum, Independent Academic Adviser at the University of Central Lancashire points out that if your loan is delayed there are other means available. ‘The Access to Learning Fund (ALF) should be able to help you with a short-term loan until your money arrives. Students must have already applied for their full entitlement before applying to ALF. Contact your university to find out your eligibility.’
Unless you have rich parents then getting a part-time job is part of student life. The best places to look are the university job shop and local press. You could also take the hands-on approach and head into the city centre and give out your CVs to local shops, bars and restaurants.
See Prospects money section with help, advice and a downloadable spreadsheet to help you budget.
‘Be aware from the start that essays and exams are usually bunched together at the end of the semester. You need to stagger your workload to make sure you get through it all. Remember, it is possible to complete work earlier than the deadline,’ advises Maggie.
You could also make a plan around your university timetable and include things like part-time working hours and time spent in clubs and societies. If you know what’s coming up then it should make it easier to be prepared for it. However be realistic and leave time for socialising and going out.
Second year Geography student Chloe Robinson knows first hand how hard it can be to keep on top of your time. ‘At college they would give reminders of when the work was due in but at university once they had given the assignment the clock started and you had to work out your own deadlines. My poor time management meant the first few assignments were completed as a result of late nights in the library. I’ve made a plan this year, I just hope I can stick to it.’
To use the old cliché the university years are some of the best of your life so make the most of it by getting involved. Interact with your peers and try and expand on the friends you made at college or in the first and second years of your course.
Think about activities you enjoy or hobbies you have and then see if there is a club or society that fits. There is usually something for everyone but if you do see a gap in what’s on offer then head to your student union. Usually with a proposal of why you want the club, why it would benefit the university and proof that there a good number of students interested, they will take it on.
It is important to remember that throughout all this you are there to study and learn. Visit Prospects study section for help and advice on how to get the most out of your study time.
If you are struggling with any aspect of university life however trivial you might think it is, don’t bury your head in the sand. Talk to someone at the university who can help you work out a way forward.
This website is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets if you are able to do so.