Student blog post

Surviving through the first semester

Student Aditi shares her advice on managing workload during the first semester of university.

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Managing workload during the first semester as an undergrad can be overwhelming, but is there a way out?

As a molecular genetics student myself, I remember the first few days of my first semester packed with anxiety and piled up work. Although I never procrastinated much in high school, university life was getting at me. I had four modules in my first semester with pages and pages of extra reading alongside the respective assignments.

Although I was excited and grateful for the resources I was getting, I could not cover the work on time. The sole issue was in the approach; as a high school student, we are trained to work in the given framework within the given timeline and achieve our final goal through our grades. Whereas, at the university level, we are the carvers of our destiny; we are expected to realize that the so-called dive we took in the pool of information has deepened and broadened in an ocean of knowledge. We need to recognize that a university is a place where we work towards our goal by seeking through the essence of a concept and not by rushing for the perfect grades. This very change in the approach helped me to calm down and spend time on each concept with genuine interest. Additionally, I could translate the ideas with greater efficiency when I required it, without getting confused.

But is there anything else that can be done about the workload? Well, primarily, you should try and create a timeline for yourself each week. At the beginning of the week, make a note of the targets you want to meet with each module; this helps you see the workload you have and enables you to keep track on your progress while distributing the workload.

To further distribute the work load, try to make a rough schedule to stick to; this will ensure that you have some structure to your day; while regulating your body’s rhythm (reducing sleepless nights), in addition to helping you be more productive.

And alongside doing all this, don’t forget to go for long relaxing walks to help you connect with yourself. University experience is also about discovering yourself while achieving your goals, and fortunately Dundee is a city where the nature is always on your side. Although the cold and rain can be a little annoying initially, its magic is equally alluring. It will surely rid you of the stress that comes with high work load, and at the same time it will leave you with a fresh perspective towards that virtual pile of books. Have faith in yourself, look beyond the clouds of homesickness; try to seek he light of the vision with which you began this journey- it will be your personal guide!

Thank you for reading!

Aditi Atmasidha

Aditi is from India and studied Molecular Genetics.

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