Treat College/University as your 9 – 5 job

October 17th, 2007
By Jon H
Treat College/University as your 9 – 5 job

Heard this one alot huh? So did I when I was studying for my first degree and still do today, even though I work all the hours under the sun (and after it goes down too!). But creating a schedule to commit yourself to is a must.

Treating your university life as a 9-5 job can positively affect your personal ‘schedule’ or ‘time-clock’. Getting into a ‘normal’ routine during the week can help your body understand and know what to do and when to do it – you will be able to focus on what you need to at the correct time, without the need for caffeine, or a good slap in the face ;-). YES, there may be times when you need a real boost (I know sometime that I do), but try to minimise on the caffeine – I’d stress that too much caffeine will disrupt your day, the Canadian site – it’s your health has a good rundown on caffeine, its affects and recommended daily intake; shame I didn’t read this when I was drinking 20+ cups of coffee a day whilst trying to get through my essays!

So, on with what a daily schedule could look like for an undergraduate or postgraduate who is adopting a 9 to 5 schedule.

Please note: The items that you will see in the below schedule will be different to items that you complete in your individual schedule; you will need to adapt the following to your situation.

The Schedule

8.00 am – Wake-up, grap a shower and get some breakfast – whether this is from your kitchen (mine was always bare), or from a cafe on the way to your lecture – getting fuel into you within the first hour is a must, as your body will start to conserve energy and your metabolism will slow down (simply – the part that burns fat).

8.30 am – Walk to college – It would usually take me 20-25 minutes to walk to college in a morning (at a fast pace) and I treated this as my daily exercise (never was a fitness geek). Although it was only 20 minutes of fast paced walking it woke me up for the day and ensured that by 5pm I’d know I’d done a days work. I’d recommend you walk to your College/University in a morning if you can do it within 30 minutes; if you live on campus then this should be a breeze, but how about taking the long-way round?

9-11am – Lecture one – Hopefully the first lecture of the day would be interesting, to do with customer services, or marketing/branding (I did a Management degree), as these would be great for a morning lecture. I’d like to say I attended all of my lectures, but I hated it when a boring topic was delivered by an even more boring lecturer – take a look at my previous post – Are lectures really worth the time?

11-1pmHit the Library – No doubt there was something I didn’t understand in the previous lecture, was advised to read a couple of chapters in a book, or just wanted some more in-depth information on the topic that was discussed. University liababries are a great place to go to study as they are (generally) quiet. I’ll be publishing a post on University libabries, so watch the R2G RSS feed for information. Other times I would be researching online, or looking for articles realting to an essay question that I needed to answer; I always organised this time to maximise the amount of work that I could get done.

1 – 2pm – Lunch – Always a key time of the day. I always took an hour even if didn’t need it – getting into a routine and having a chat with your friends about the mornings events, or what happened between Rachel and Ben last night is always a good relaxing topic. Don’t become too indulged and go off to watch neighbours, CSI or Diagnosis Murder ‘because it’s on’, you need to focus on the afternoon.

2 – 4pm – Lecture two – This lecture would be a downer to the day unless it had some sort of interaction contained – such as a group discussion, presentation or seminar. These would all reduce the boredom; what is it about 3pm at University I don’t know, but everyone kinda winds down for the day.

4 – 5pm – Hit the computer – Checking my emails daily was a must, as well as reviewing what I’d saved on my hard drive (articles etc from the library earlier), reading up on any upcoming uni activities and replying to some emails from friends who were studying elsewhere. Sometimes I would outline an answer to an essay question, or type up part of a bibliography (references section), so that I knew what I had researched and what I was going to research next.

After 5pm – Do something active – Generally went to the pub after 5, watched some footy (soccer to those in the US) and had a good time. More often than not I would go out for the night on the town, or finish the night in a bar playing pool with a group of friends. Unless of course it was close to an essay submission, or dissertation time; more on that later.

Whilst the above does cover a ‘typical’ day and many students don’t have these (ironic huh?), it is clear that you should make sure that you spend your time between 9am and 5pm concentrating on your studies. If you have a day off from lectures (I generally had two a week when completing my undergraduate degree) then use it constructively, visit the library, research from home, but make sure you work on elements of your course, or material that will help you progress through college/university.

Always remember, consistency will help you progress through your time in academia.

The Discussion

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  • October 19th, 2007
    5:27 am

    Excellent post, planning your work time ahead is the key to balancing social and work time.

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