Damage Control: How to Get Your Academic Life Together

It’s the Sunday night before term two, you’re aggressively typing an assignment or doing your tutorial preparation for the week, perhaps you’ve finished it ahead of time so you’re enjoying your own company and some Friends reruns to chill out. No Matter what you’re doing, the ugly reality looms over your head: with our return from mid-year vacation, comes crunch time.

I hate to be that person, but exams are a little bit over two months away and if you’re not careful you’ll find yourself in a hellish spiral during the last few weeks leading up to them. You’ll slowly but surely see your readings piling up, your deadlines approaching and your procrastination at a dangerously high level. Fear not my fellow students, for I’m here to offer some hopefully helpful tips to do some academic damage control.

1. Make some friends

Seriously, having friends, or at least friendly acquaintances in your course can be a lifesaver. If you’ve skipped a few more lectures than you’d like to admit, or your course reader has been sitting in a corner untouched since the start of the semester - you can still get by with a little help from your friends (No, not like that). Divide your course readings amongst several people each week and upload summaries of them into a shared document (I strongly recommend Google Docs). You can do the same thing with lecture notes, assignment information, or even just to figure out terms and concepts you’ve encountered. As exams draw closer, it might benefit you to have a potential study group.


2. Know what you need to pass

There’s nothing more anxiety-inducing than when DP lists roll around and you see your name due to one too many missed tutorials. Use these next two months to gather your bearings and see where you stand with DP - how much percentage of lecture/tutorial attendance is compulsory? If you’ve missed one with a valid reason, have you notified the relevant persons? If tutorial assignments aren’t for DP, are they even worth doing? FIND OUT. At this point in the semester many lecturers and tutors are still lenient, and if you’re nice you may be able to fix any mishaps you may have had throughout the semester thus far.


3.Take advantage of the resources offered to you

Make use of consultation times. Don’t be afraid to reach out if you’re in trouble with any course content - there are people who are willing to help. It’s a lot less nerve-wracking to do so now than a week before your exam when everyone, including lecturers and tutors, are stressed out. Look over VULA resources for any additional notes or past papers and use the libraries and labs to find alternative sources to help you make sense of the course content.


4.Plan ahead

Start working out a rough study timetable. Even if you don’t have your exam dates just yet*, look at your workload and how you’re going to revise all of it efficiently. Look at how many due dates you have left for the semester and work around them to leave time for both studying and assignments. The law of University says that if multiple due dates seem far away to you - they’re probably all in the same week without you realising. Whether you write it down or put it in your calendar - just make sure you know what’s coming.

*If you're connected to Eduroam, you can check out your timetable here.


5. Make some time for yourself

In the time leading up to exams, we as students become mentally and physically drained. It’s almost inevitable, so remember to make some time for yourself to wind down and get away from it all.  There are times when you’ll be so overwhelmed that it may seem easier to just drop out of university altogether, but remember to take care of yourself.


Best of luck for the rest of the semester!