Tips on starting university organised!

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Going to university is a really big step, in more ways than one. Not only does your degree mean you're making steps towards your career that could change the rest of your life, the experiences you have over the next few years will be vital learning curves as well.

Throughout school, we are often spoon-fed a schedule, and if you don't show up or do your homework, your parents are contacted. But, at University, you're likely to get a series of emails until they eventually just give up and you may have to resit.

University is all about what you make of it, so the more you put in, the more you'll benefit. But the fact is that now, more than ever before, you're really going to be in charge. Nobody will tell you what to do, where to go, or who to be ─ but you'll soon learn that nobody else will either because as an adult, YOU are the one who has to take charge.

Routine isn't for everyone, so it's all about finding a balance that works for you. Honestly, I can be pretty useless at times, but I find that I'm most productive when following these simple tips:

Photograph taken at our student accommodation in Bristol – Liberty Park

Start as you mean to go on

Quite honestly, it's all about getting yourself into the right mind frame. Group different parts of your life ─ university, your part time job, social life, fitness, and hobbies, and ensure that you are allocating the right amount of time to each.

I'm a huge procrastinator, and I like to wing it. I'll let you into a secret... yes, you can probably get away with this in first year. But you'll make life difficult for yourself along the tracks, and you'll wish you made more effort to get more out of university. You're paying a fortune, after all!

Get the right tools

Sometimes having a clear mind can be really helped with the right equipment. What better way to make a fresh start than with some fresh new stuff? Investing in a whiteboard can help you wipe away tasks as you do them, which is pretty satisfying. Some cool new stationery will also encourage you to use it, and take notes.

Finally, a diary can be your best friend. There are apps so you can manage your life online, but to do things the old fashioned way (which can be really handy for actually keeping up with things in an un-cluttered fashion), diaries are the best.

Just don't be too surprised if your first few weeks look pristine and perfect, but suddenly become illegible by month two. Or, maybe that's just my experience?!

Make time for yourself

Balance is really important at university. If you're constantly overworking, you might burn yourself out; and then you won't want to do anything at all. Take time each week, whether it's to treat yourself to a nice, quiet coffee on your own, reading your favourite book, binging on Netflix, or even treating yourself to a massage.

Live well

If your room is a mess, you're eating rubbish daily, and you're never stepping outside to see the light of day, your mental health is going to suffer and your life will be a somewhat chaotic reflection of that. Work on each area at a time, clearing up after yourself as you go, learning a new healthy recipe in your Liberty Living kitchen every week, and doing some kind of fitness to keep your body and mind healthy.

Don't feel too smug about planning

It's all very well having the latest stuff to help you plan, and even implementing the plan into place, but at the end of the day, you need to really get organised, and not just appear organised. Be honest with yourself... is time spent making lists and writing plans actually helping you? Or would it be more helpful to just throw yourself in?

When I revise, I find that it's better for me to just get on with it, or I end up with a false sense of security that I'm somehow on top of things, when really, I'm not! But everyone's got their own style, and you just have to find whatever works best for you.

Being a student can be an incredible leap. You're moving away from home and having to balance things you didn't even think about before, because your parents or school might have sorted them out for you.

Don't worry if you're confused or feeling overwhelmed, talk to your flatmates as they may well be in the same boat and you can all support one another. Don't forget that the Residence Teams at your student accommodation are here to help you as well. They've helped countless others before and they can lend you a few words of advice, whenever you may need it!