As much as the phrase ‘New Year, New You’ makes any Facebook user want to try new ways to be violent, there is some truth to it. With a new term coming ever closer, there is no better time than right now to get your act together and make a few changes that could see you getting better grades, better time management skills and being way more successful as a postgrad.
1. Keep a notebook In order to be on top of the dozens of dates and deadlines that make up postgraduate study, it is crucial to have everything to need in one place. Some might want to do this with a diary, others might like a to-do-list on their phone, but the best way is with a notebook that can be separated by sections so it does not get as disorganised as the rest of your life…whatever it is you chose to use, stick to it and make it a habit of checking it every day.
2. Speak to your supervisor After all the thesis Christmas reading you did (…right guys?), it is probably a good idea to meet with your supervisor and make sure you are on the same page again as soon as possible. Even if you did nothing over the festive period, checking back in will get you back refocused for the final push through to deadline day. Even if it is only an email or a brief chat, it will remind them that you exist and remind you why you wanted to study your specific area in the first place.
3. Re-order your notes Every time you go back into your study area, endless ring binders and sheets of loose paper meet you, a very real reminder of the endless revision you are going to have to start doing fairly shortly. Tackle it before it becomes a problem. Sort your notes by subject, topic or by sections of your thesis. The amount of time it takes you might seem like a lot, but its nothing compared to the frantic hours you will save as you look for a crucial quote at the last minute. You might even find something you’d half forgotten.
4. Sort out your finances …no come back! Most of us are happy to live fully in our overdrafts and keep all bank statements either unopened or in that huge pile of paperwork on your desk. However, pretty soon you are going to have to deal with the finances of the real world and the dreaded council tax that leaves your graduated friends completely broke every few months. Considering opening savings accounts or changing to a more perk-filled bank account is going to be very useful in the future, and doing it whist you are slightly flush with festive cash is a great idea.
5. Stock up for study Speaking of that festive cash, now is the time to buy those student essentials you are going to need for the rest of the year. Printer paper, ink, stationary, course-specific items and even dry and canned food stuffs are always worth stocking up on, taking advantage of January sales and preparing you for the leaner months when the money runs out. And, of course, make sure a notebook/diary is top of that shopping list.
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