A new semester or trimester means new classes and a new timetable — a fresh start, if you need one. It’s also an important time when it comes to organisation. Study life moves quickly, and you have to be on the ball if you want to schedule the ideal timetable. Here are some tips going forward.
1. Be realistic rather than optimistic
So many first-year students enter student life thinking they will be proactive students who rise early and go to their morning classes. Within weeks, these 8am lectures become incredibly easy to skip and your timetable goes from optimistic to unmanageable. Be honest with yourself about whether you’re an early riser or prefer to sleep in — a realistic timetable will be so much easier to manage. If you know you can’t maintain a big day or two of early classes, don’t enter these early classes into your preferences. Your class timetable contributes to your overall lifestyle, so make the most of it and ensure you’re more likely to actually turn up to your classes.
2. Account for travel time
Regardless of what time you prefer to take your classes, you’ll need to consider is how much time you’ll need to get into campus so you aren’t one of those embarrassed late comers (there are plenty in the first few weeks of any semester). One reason this happens is because students haven’t considered travel time or the time it takes from the carpark or bus station to the class. If you’re on a large campus, consider how long it takes to get to the building you need to be in. This also applies for any employment you may have – consider how long it takes to get back to your workplace from your campus, and don’t make yourself late for work due to a poorly-planned schedule.
3. Space out your classes
While some students may advise cramming all your subjects into one or two days, having a loaded day or two of classes can soon become more hassle than it’s worth. A full day of tutorials and lectures can easily turn your idea of uni from fun and interesting to a hated place of obligation. Most importantly, it can make it easier to skip entire subjects on a weekly basis.
If you study on-campus you will have to go in more often, but when you spread your schedule out to three or more days of 2–3 classes at a time may make you relax and enjoy the study experience more. If you study online, it will help increase your attention span and reduce fatigue that may occur from a full day of online lectures.
4. Avoid long breaks between classes
It’s easy to do — one class at 10am, then another at 3pm — that’s plenty of time to study in between, classes. The reality is you don’t often need this time, especially in the first half of a semester. Having such a big break between classes is often ends up being a pain when you’re left on campus and waiting for time to pass. Try not to give yourself more than a two-hour break between classes, and preferably have this break over lunch time so you can go and wind down over some food. If you study online, you may make more use of the time between classes.
5. Be prepared and get in early
Keep on top of the important dates around timetable preferences and adjustment. Planning a perfect timetable doesn’t work if you miss these deadlines. Whatever time the adjustments or preferences open, log on 15 minutes earlier and be ready. The time can fly, and sites are known to crash. If you get in first, you’ve got a great chance of securing the dream timetable.