September is here…
The start of a new academic year. This strikes fear into the hearts of some and for others it makes them excited to shop for academic planners and post it notes. For me, well I’m starting my (let me count…) 21st year of education and that is a little bit mind-boggling.
However, this, my 21st start of year, is different as I’m heading into my second year of my PhD in which I will be teaching myself. No longer just preparing for my own research, I now have to think of the my first year undergrad class and making sure I am ready to start my teaching life!
I love the start of a new academic year. I like buying a new diary, thinking through my goals for the year, and getting excited to meet new people. Considering I have twenty years of education under my belt I thought I would share with you my ideas for starting the year fresh, prepared, and ready to go.
Decide Your Planning Style
Some people use their phones, some (like me) an old school paper diary, and others use bullet journals (I will never get my head around those!). Whatever it is you choose to use, use it.
At the start of the year it is so easy to get carried away with signing up for classes and going out with your new friends, and often this means that important dates and deadlines don’t get remembered. Just write them down; then you won’t have to suffer the feeling of dread when you realise you have an essay due in a week and you haven’t even given it a thought.
Plan Your Time
So you have bought an academic planner. What next?
Plan your weeks and days! I have given a little example of what I do here and breaking big goals down into smaller tasks makes it MUCH less intimidating.
It is also important to remember that sometimes life gets in the way and you don’t get things done so don’t beat yourself up and start afresh the next day.
Set Yourself Achievable Goals
A new year is a great time to decide what you want to achieve that academic year and in the past I have been guilty of making very long, over-ambitious lists of goals which I, of course, never reach. Goals don’t have to be all academic related either, if you want to become Social Secretary of a uni club or society then write it down!
I have a list of things that I want to achieve by the end of my PhD and this helps me to know what I am working towards and keep motivated when the work piles up and I dream of running away where my research can’t find me.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Whether you are in sixth form, college, or university, education is a great experience and there is always something new to learn. But always remember that having a good time, having new experiences, and exploring your town – or the world! – with your friends is also so important.
Old people always say that the years pass so quickly as you age and I, as a 26 year old, can vouch for that. My undergraduate and master’s degree were the best times of my life and I hope this academic year is the same for you!
Good luck to you all starting a new academic year!