10 Steps To Become a More Productive University Student

March 2nd, 2009
By Jon
10 Steps To Become a More Productive University Student
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You have probably started your second term at university with a bang, given that we’re clearly in 2009 now, and some of you will be in hectic research mode for your dissertation, it should be clear that you could be productive with your time during your university years.

With Easter on the horizon, it won’t be long before you’ve got a few weeks off to relax (or revise) and think about how things are going to develop, and at the end of this month having exams, more essays and papers to write.
When on campus your time is limited, there are only so many hours in the day and you’ve got to fit in daily lectures (if you get up in time ;-)), scramble for books in the library (before everyone else gets them), and get up to date with what happen over the last week.  You, therefore, want to use the time that you do have productively, because when you’re not there you probably won’t be thinking about it.

I’ve listed the top ten productivity tips that will help you as a university student in the rest of 2009.
Now, you’re probably saying to yourself  “here we go, another one of these lists!” and you’d be right, you probably have seen this type of list a thousand times over on a number of other boring and uninteresting sites and some of those mind numbing books that you’re advised to read.  Well, this is my take on things and to be honest I have a really short attention span when concentrating on things, so hopefully you’ll learn something new different.
1.    Cut out distractions – If you’re at home or at a friend’s, then you’re going to want to eliminate the distractions from around you.  Turn the TV off, your mobile and pop a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your door.  If you study better when you have some music on, then you should leave it on, just don’t turn on the radio for music as you’ll become distracted will the news, talking and adverts that crop up.  Cutting out any unwanted distractions will make sure that you can focus on studying and use your time effectively.

2.    Clear your mind – you’ll want to ensure that you’ve not got a hundred and one things on your mind that you have to remember for next week, or that your mind is full of worthless stuff that is happening in your life.  When this happens, you’ll want to take a couple of deep breaths and try to relax – you could also try going for a quick walk around the block or popping on facebook for some jucy gossip, but you only want to do this for 10 minutes or so; so, if you decide to do the latter then you should time yourself – spending all evening on facebook might be fun, but isn’t going to be productive to your university studies is it?

3.    Go set some goals – where do you expect to get to if you don’t know where you’re going?  That’s always one question that you should ask yourself and it doesn’t matter is you’re writing an essay or studying for an exam, you should have an end goal(s) in mind, don’t just mingle along for the sake of it.  These goals should set out an end game, where you want to be with a task or achievement.  If you were thinking about completing an essay then you could think about going to do some research, or reading a number of chapters in a book or a number of articles to help you understand the topic – not knowing where you’re heading to, and the steps that you have to take, can lead any university student to become confused and annoyed.
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Do your University Essays say something about you?

Do your University Essays say something about you?
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When you’re writing your first university essay you’ll generally not really understand how you write and what you will need to add to your essay to make it award-winning great. I looked at an essay the other day, which I wrote at the start of my very first year at university, and I look back with shame questions – why was I so naive and why did I write so badly?

The main answers to these questions come from my lack of confidence and that I didn’t understand my own writing ability – I also didn’t understand that I needed to use my own perspective on theories and understanding, and not flood the paper with quote after quote. I didn’t know anything better and learnt a number of years later how to write great essays in a matter of no time, and these were all to a high standard and received high grades.

Learn to Develop Your Own Academic Writing

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When you’re at school, may teachers will encourage you to write in one style and format that suits them, they’ll also urge you not to have your own thoughts because ‘what the book says is correct’. This is true when you look at exams being taken by teenagers, I’d argue that they’re not learning as much as they should, and they’re negatively affecting their chances of succeeding at university.

It is going to take you time to build up your own way of writing and will probably take you the good part of one academic year, reading a number of university writing tips, books and internet resources for inspiration. You need to learn to write in a style that will allow your reader to understand all of the points you are making, but also be able to draw on the number of sources you’ve included. This is something that you will need to concentrate on though all of your undergraduate essays and fit in your strategy to meet with other university requirements within your institution.

Undergraduate Essays

An undergraduate essay will be something that you may consider strange at first, you’ve come from college and are writing in a style that you are comfortable with. You come to university to study towards a degree that you hope to graduate from in 3, 4, 5 or more years; this is obviously dependent on the time that is specified for completion of the degree and usually dependent on the subject of the course and possibly a year out.
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Is your student blog updated?

December 22nd, 2008
By Jon
Is your student blog updated?
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So, I’ve finally got around to getting some more posts in the bag and lots of interesting new titles to bore you with for you to read ;-).  There’s a whole host of interesting new incites into how I view academia now, rather than I did when I was in my first few months a little while back – so the experiences I have learnt from should help you.

If you do have a student blog, or indeed write for another blog, then I would encourage you to upgrade to wordpress 2.7 – the dashboard interface is sweet and so easy to use.  Yes, it does take a little bit of time to get used to, but having all the little shortcuts built in is  more than a little helpful.  You can re-arrange all of the different areas on your screen to bring the important stuff to the top, where you need it, and when writing a post things have gotten sooo much easier.

Upgrading to wordpress 2.7 is magic too, and it took me little time to do – especially with the automatic upgrade plugin that you can use – takes less than five minutes to complete and worked like a dream (thankfully).

This university student blog has also had a little bit of an upgrade and looks a little more individual than it did a couple of months ago, so it’s easier on the eyes when you’re reading it – obviously you’ll only notice this if you’re reading the posts in the site and not in your rss reader ;-).

Here’s more to university study tips in 2008 (well, what’s left of it) and more in 2009.

The next few days will be a little rocky

December 4th, 2008
By Jon
The next few days will be a little rocky
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Just a quick post for everyone, I’ve had a new theme designed and I’m going to be tweaking it over the next few days, so if you are following R2G via RSS, or you’re following me on Twitter, then you may get a few posts coming your way from the past – I’m not the best techie around, so please bear with me!

All should be well by Friday and I’ve got a great deal of content that I want to get posted out – all starting next week.

Ghost towns are upon us!

July 21st, 2008
By Jon
Ghost towns are upon us!
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I’ve been to a few universities here in the UK over the past couple of weeks. Some have been like ghost towns with not many students really anywhere. Whereas other universities, especially city based ones, have been vibrant and busy like little towns – some of them have been the busiest I’ve seen!

Most of you will know that I visit numerous campuses every month distributing flyers and posters for supaproofread.com – the company I established delivering professional student proofreading services. I felt that there were so many students not using this type of service that I had to get the word out and help students on their way. So too, was the establishment of this blog – a wealth of experience that I have to pass onto other students that are going through the path and taking the trip down the road to graduating in their choice of subject.

Anyway, back to the point of the post. I’ve always wondered why there is such a difference to university campuses in the summer months – and I do know the obvious that undergrads are taking their break and getting ready to come back in September. It amazes me though, that you can go to one city university one day and another the next and the difference in total people on campus is so different.

To some this can become quite annoying, and especially to me when I am trying to understand each university and patterns of their students. So too, it must be difficult for students who are visiting and trying to understand when they should go to do something specific without the queues and chaos on campus. But, alas it is quieter on campus for postgrads to concentrate on their dissertations and research without have undergrad wild parties eating into their much needed rest after a hard days work.

I remember that when in the summer term I was writing and researching for my masters dissertation and loved that it was quiet and peaceful on campus – and not just late at night or early in the morning – but all of the time, just great!

What is it like at the campus where you are? Is it quiet or busy?

New Blog Theme – New approach

July 13th, 2008
By Jon
New Blog Theme – New approach
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Well, it looks like another academic year is over for many students at university and college – with some postgrads nervously thinking about the writing up of their dissertation or thesis in the next month or so.  The problem with the summer months for many undergrads is what to do and how to do it at little or no cost.  I’m sure you had a blast of a time at the end of term party, and if you just finished your degree and the dreaded final year dissertation then you’ll be anxiously waiting for your grade later this summer – a 2:1 or a 1st – who knows, if you did great you’ll get the latter, if you just missed out then you’ll have the 2:1 in the bag.

So, back to important things here at R2G – why I’ve not been around for ages and why starting the momentum in the summer?  Well, as most of you will know I graduated back in 2005, yes a couple of years ago, but I’m wanting to get back into the academic scene by heading back and doing my PhD.  I still have loads of guidance and advice to give people on the blog and want to create a community where people can share ideas, views and resources.  I’ve been busy working all over the place at the moment changed jobs and ended doing some temp work in a hotel, and finally ended up just recently working for a recruitment agency – I know they do get bad press, but this isn’t so bad and it’s close to home so I don’t have far to travel – which is a huge bonus especially with all the fuel price increases lately, which are absolutely stupid!  With the change in job though, and the great hours (9 to 5! never done that in my life before), now I think is the best time to devote a little bit of time to the blog and get some awareness and community spirit going.

I’ve changed the theme on the blog which has given it a brighter feel, although all isn’t finished as yet.  I still need to adapt a few different posts and pages and most importantly I need to add more content (obviously) and I’m looking maybe into getting a customized logo/header for the top – you just never know, if I earn enough revenue from the blog I’ll most probably splash out for a customized theme – but this probably won’t happen until the need of the next academic year.

Looking to the future, I’ve got a few books at the moment that I want to review, a ton of guidance about working, looking at employment, writing your CV and actually getting a job – from my time spent in recruitment – and general advice about writing and studying at university/college.  I pretty sure I’ve got a good view of where the blog is heading for over the next few months, and sure that I will keep a bunch of readers that have read the blog in the past and bring up a load of new people eager to talk about their experiences and join in with me.  I haven’t got all the answers, but I do love a good discussion, especially when I win :-), with other like minded people. 

Here’s to the grow of R2G and much more information to come.

 

Nick

Privacy Policy

December 1st, 2007
By Jon
Privacy Policy
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R2G Monday Roundup – 19th November – 25th November

November 28th, 2007
By Jon
R2G Monday Roundup – 19th November – 25th November
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It has been a tough week here at Road 2 Graduation, and most of you will know that I’ve been sick, but I’ve managed to keep people updated with what I was doing by twitter. Not wanting to draw your attention away from the roundup too much, I’m just letting you all know I’m a lot better and in full writing swing!

Here we go….

  1. Academy concern over decline in Language study
  2. An interesting article on why academics are worried about why students in the UK aren’t being taught all they can about different languages, and actually learning a foreign language. Interesting really, as I seem to have seen a similar article to this a few years ago!

  3. Seven Habits of Highly Innovative People
  4. When I read this post over at thinksimplenow.com, ideas suddenly popped into my mind of entrepreneurial people I studied with during my time at University. Looking at habits, taking risks and recording what you have done (accomplished and failed), this article is a really good read for all.

  5. Thanksgiving and the Story we tell Ourselves
  6. I was a little curious this week to find out how our friends ‘over the pond’ celebrate thanksgiving and what it is actually celebrating/remembering. I truly interesting post by lifehack.org

  7. 5 reasons to get a Public Library card
  8. An interesting post by a guest blogger over at Gearfire.net. Thought the title was strange as I haven’t been into my local public library for a number of years, but this post may just ‘tap’ me in the right direction to go and have a look to see what’s changed.

  9. How to take notes on PowerPoint slides
  10. Cal’s post on PowerPoint for student presenters is a really good post and got my attention straight away. Useful information for everyone in academia.

  11. Don’t you Dare…in a Formal Paper
  12. that college kid identifies what you shouldn’t put into your paper if writing at college/university. A couple of really good examples.

  13. Top 5 Departure Tips
  14. Stephen over at Study in the UK Blog provides International students with some quick tips when they’re going to travel abroad to study. Having friends and making them before you travel can be crucial, as you’ll have some one to talk to, or go for a beer with when you first get to the country and university you’re visiting.

I’ll be popping up another couple of posts over the next few days.

Having time off when you’re not in control

November 27th, 2007
By Jon
Having time off when you’re not in control
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I’m back and have an abundance of information to pass on. For those who wondered where in the hell the Sunday review was, and a Monday Roundup then I apologise. Being sick really frustrates me, and I was sick to the point where I have been unable to post anything and I didn’t have any posts completed posts to publish on the blog. This just reiterates my thoughts on planning and developing your writing (need to take my own advice I think!)

In development

I’ve got some series of posts that will be coming up over the next few weeks or so and will be ideal reading as we head up to the Christmas holidays. I’m planning ahead my posts and am even writing my Christmas eve post as we speak – its on a topic that I really enjoy and want to get the bulk of it written now.

I’m currently producing a post for the Monday Roundup, but felt it best to delay the Sunday review until next week, as I really want to concentrate on other material posts that I believe will bring you more value – plus I think these posts will interest you more too.

I’ll be putting a few posts up in the next few hours, so watch out for them and here’s to future planning

A change in style

November 20th, 2007
By Jon
A change in style
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If you’ve just recently stopped by the Road 2 Graduation blog then you will have noticed that there’s been a couple of changes. We’ve changed the top banner to be a little more attractive to everyone visiting the blog. This was won in a contest over at onlinecashflow.org and I’m very grateful for the work that Jeremy has put in to the banner, as well as with all my changes to the original design. If you’re looking for some great money making tips, then please head over to onlinecashflow.org to keep updated with what’s going on over there.

I’ve also managed to get my favicon up onto the site:

Favicon

and you should be seeing this in your browsers over the next few days when they refresh – or so I’m led to believe.

Hopefully these changes and others over the coming weeks will help the R2G site improve and increase readability for all.

If anyone has any comments or suggestions then please leave a comment.

 

Once again thank you to Jeremy for the banner:

R2g

 

Update

This update is now out of date, as you will see by the new theme that is here.