The beginning of third level has that exciting mix of freedom, new friends, play, study and time. Mastering the freedom and time elements is essential in getting the best out of the other three.
How to achieve this? . . .
Consider time for a moment. Most fulltime programmes are made up of 5 modules of 3 hours each and therefore requiring 15 hours in class each week. Think of all of those after-class hours! Getting up at the crack of 11 a.m. some days is good! But everyday?
And here is the freedom bit – choose to live by the dictum Play when you play, Work when you work. This will make room for planning and the third level environment is ideal for acquiring and honing this skill. Buy yourself a diary or use the calendar facility on your phone.
How then to develop planning while in college?
Consider the student’s day as divided into 2 parts – in-class hours and out-of-class time.
The class or lecture hour: arrive on time at the lecture with the recommended pre-lecture materials and develop your notes sufficiently during the lecture so that you will get the most out of your study time later. Decide when this study time will be and stick to it. In this way your planning will encompass both in-class and out-of-class hours. You can go one step further and start planning for the following summer – ask yourself – what do I need to learn so that I might be considered for a summer internship?
Of course, right from day 1 – be mindful when final exams are scheduled.
The out-of-class time: 3 elements make up this time:
- Study time – the time dedicated to reading and completing exercises required to understand the subject matter.
- Meeting with lecturers – particularly important when not grasping the material. This interaction will become in time the basis for a reference. So, get to know your lecturers.
- Non-study time – the time to go and have fun! Join the clubs and societies. Have a few late nights! How about jogging, soccer or any form of exercise you prefer? Volunteer.
Using the diary – Plan the work and Work the plan.
. . . and staying with non-study time for a moment – Consider its potential for doing something meaningful.
Virtually all third levels institutions are geared up to harness students’ abilities and goodwill for volunteerism. It is remarkable how the decision to help others develops the planning skill. Why is this? It’s very simple. Volunteering involves making a commitment of time and suddenly your time becomes precious. And of course you will make new friends, beyond those friendships developed in your classes.
And lastly, if something bothers you in that first year or any other year for that matter? Perhaps your chosen course is not for you. Think it through. Decide to discuss it with somebody. Most lecturers also act as advisors. Start with them. Take time out if need be. Whatever you decide to do, at least you will have made a decision. Third level is about the art and practice of making choices. Enjoy it!
- The beginning of third level has that exciting mix of freedom, new friends, play, study and time. Master the freedom and time elements to get the best out of the other three.
- Choose to live by the dictum Play when you play, Work when you work.
- Consider the student’s day as divided into two parts – in-class hours and out-of-class time. Buy a diary or use the calendar facility on your phone and learn to plan.
- Attending class: – arrive on time and develop your notes to propel your study time later.
- Out-of-class time is made up of Study time, Meeting with lecturers, Non-study time
- Get to know your lecturers. Useful when seeking references.
- Non-study time is to have fun! Join the clubs and societies, exercise, volunteer.
- Using your diary, Plan your work, Work your plan.
- Volunteering. All third levels institutions are geared up to harness students’ abilities and goodwill. Hones the planning skill. And great for making new friends.
- Something bothers you in that first year? Your chosen course is not for you? Decide to discuss it with somebody. Most lecturers also act as advisors. Start with them.
Third level is about the art and practice of making choices. Enjoy it!
Dr. John Heneghan is a lecturer in Accounting and Corporate Governance in UL’s Kemmy Business School.