So there will be some learning involved in your time at uni, and your first lecture will probably be in the middle of Fresher’s Week – not ideal. Depending on your degree you might have a variety of different lesson types; at my university I had lectures, seminars and the occasional tutorial.
Lectures generally happen in big lecture theatres or classrooms and there are lots of people there normally, this is where your tutor will teach you the basics of your course. Seminars are smaller and there will probably be around 15 of you there with your tutor, seminars are where you get to input your ideas and work together with the other students in your class. I only had two or three tutorials in my whole degree, and these were where there were only 3 or 4 of us with the tutor and we were able to work on the difficult concepts together. At my university it was compulsory that you attend seminars and tutorials and there would be a register taken.
Getting organised, then, for a start this will depend on how many modules your course is made up of. My degree was made up of eighteen modules in total; three for each semester. For each module I would have one lecture and one seminar a week. Ideally these would be spread out throughout the week but in reality they all turned out to be on the same day.
To make it easy for yourself I’d recommend getting a Project Book; a notebook with different sections for each module. I used to use mine for both lectures and seminars and then I knew all of my notes were together when it came to writing essays. I also bought some of those flexible plastic wallets which button closed to keep all of the handouts for each module in. This meant that on Monday morning when I had to be in my Sociology lecture at 9am all I had to grab was my project book and the corresponding plastic wallet and shove it in my bag. You could use Lever Arch Folders but they just aren’t as easy to carry around, especially if you’ve got text books to carry too!
I would recommend getting yourself some brightly coloured pens for your notes too, a different colour for each module or concept will make it easier to remember information when you come to revise. These Sharpies are perfect for the job – 12 different colours and they’re not going to fade away! I also found that having colourful notes made them less stressful to look at.
Get yourself a diary, an academic one is perfect as it runs from September to August but a regular one would work too. It’s important to note down important dates somewhere, you’ll have essays, exams and important lectures to attend. It’s also a good idea to note down any reading you need to do for certain seminars and if you need to complete a task or anything. Group projects are quite common at universities and you’ll need to plan when you’re meeting with your group and who is doing what. So get a diary and keep it in your bag at all times.
Pick up a memory stick – you’ll need one. This Flintstone’s one is so cute and if you leave it in the library you’ll know which one is yours. You will probably work on your essays in a number of different locations, your bed, the common room, the library, your university building etc. so it’s important to have a copy backed up on a USB memory stick. Keep it on your keys and you’ll always have it with you.
And finally, invest in some Post-it Notes, I used sticky notes all the time whilst I was at uni. They are perfect for jotting down deadlines before you can write them in your diary, for noting down page numbers for essays, for marking pages in books and generally just noting stuff down in a hurry. They’re also a must for leaving notes to your flatmates when they’re annoying you…
So, my Top 5 tips for getting organised for your lectures are:
- Get a Project Book with sections for each module.
- Get some bright coloured pens to make your notes stand out.
- Get a diary to note down important deadlines.
- Back everything up on to a USB memory stick and take it everywhere.
- Post-it’s are a must have item.
Have you got any organisation tips?