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Is University Hard? Seven Things You Must Know

Environmental Psychologist and Wellbeing Consultant

Is University Hard? Seven Things You Must Know

With students heading to University to take the first steps of their higher-education journey, I thought it’d be wise to tackle a question that thousands of students the country over will no doubt be asking: “Is University hard?”.

The question of whether University is hard is, of course, a subjective question with many variables. Some will take to University like a duck to water, whereas others may struggle to adapt to independent studying and life. Given that it is such a subjective question, it isn’t easy to provide a one-size-fits-all answer. Ultimately, it boils down to the individual and how they adjust to new surroundings, being around new people, embarking on a different lifestyle, and higher education studies. However, just because there is no definitive answer to this question, doesn’t mean that university life can’t be made easier; therefore, I’ve put together a ten-step guide that you should implement (or at least try to implement) if you want to make your time at University run a little more seamlessly. 


How Hard Is University? Seven Tips For Freshers

#1 – Make Time For Procrastination 

I know what you’re thinking: “Procrastination at university? Surely I won’t have time for that?!”. Contrary to popular belief, university studies don’t take up every hour of every day. However, that’s not to say it doesn’t require hard work; it certainly does. One area that many students (and humans in general) struggle with is using their time productively and not allowing procrastination to rear its ugly head and make life a lot harder! Therefore, it’s crucial to organise your time to allow for your work to be completed on time and for downtime. It’s far better to make time for procrastination rather than allow it to sneak up on you and cause stress and potentially adversely affect the quality of your work.

#2 – Attendance Every Lecture and Seminar

Although there are some aspects of university teaching that isn’t compulsory, it’s advisable to attend as much as you can – especially the mandatory things. In fact, some universities mark you on your attendance (sometimes as much as 10% of a module), so just being present could be the difference between a 2:2 and 2:1 if the margins are exceptionally fine. Furthermore, don’t miss assignment deadlines. If you do, you may lose marks or even have the assignment rejected – something you should clearly avoid at all costs.

#3 – Seminar Contribution

Just turning up is often enough, but it’s beneficial for your learning and communication skills to be ready to contribute to seminars and other classes with an open discussion where students are expected to contribute. Public speaking is an art, and some people are more confident than others when speaking in front of others, but it because easier the more you do it, trust me!

#4 – Essay Feedback Is Important

How assignments are marked will vary from lecturer to lecturer; however, if you receive an essay back, and it only has a few ticks and untidily scrawled comments on it, ask for more feedback. Your lecturers are there to help you and will happily help you out and furnish you with more expanse feedback. The more feedback you receive, the greater opportunity you have to understand your weaknesses, which can then be worked on.

#5 – Time Management 

This relates to point number 1, but I feel time management is a topic that deserves its own section given just how crucial it is. Most universities suggest between 40 and 60 hours of preparation and reading each week, which, let’s face it, is somewhat unrealistic. To ensure you’re up to date and speed, you must create – and stick to – a routine. For example, write up lecture notes immediately after the lecture; do the required reading for a seminar for an hour the evening before to ensure it’s fresh in your mind; set yourself a dedicated lunch hour etc.

#6 – Being Overwhelmed Is Fine

In the months leading up to University and during your first term you will be inundated with advice, and it’ll probably confuse you and make you wonder what exactly you should be doing and when. This is entirely natural. Being thrown into a new environment with new people is going to take a little time to get used to and be at ease with, so it’s absolutely natural to feel overwhelmed. Most students experience some form of helplessness feeling in their first term, so if you feel like this don’t worry, it’s completely normal. 

#7 – University isn’t just about work

With so many hours each week required for preparation work, reading, and assignments, it’s often hard to see how you’ll have a life outside of academic tasks. However, there is more than enough time for socialising, and it’s something that everyone should get involved in. Being more comfortable around new people and king new friends will help you feel more at ease in your new surroundings and will help you to build life skills than will be beneficial in the future.