By Aikaterini Lygaki
With Oxford’s tutorial system come a lot of hours of independent study. Tutors expect you to produce 1-2 essays a week, plus attend any lectures that interest you, and any mandatory classes that you’ve been set. As an English student nearing the end of my degree, on average over these past 3 years, I’ve had approximately 3 contact-hours every week. This means that I have learned to perfect the art of working for myself, without the constant nagging of a teacher or the rigid schedule of school. Whilst I’ve always loved this independence that comes with being at university, I’ve also hit a few bumps along the way. So, I’ve now compiled a list of tips for you, so you don’t make the same mistakes I have.
1. Recognise your preferences
This may sound obvious, but it wasn’t to me for the longest time. Everyone works differently, so before you start working, identify your personal rhythms, energy levels and motivation throughout the day so you can cater your work schedule around your needs.
2. Stop trying to be someone else
After realising what patterns work best for you, let go of any preconceptions that you may have. I know that as someone who cannot wake up before 10am, I’ve found my working schedule differs greatly from that of my friends. I can’t work in the morning, and that’s okay, because that’s simply not how I function. I also work better in short bursts of energy, so I don’t function very well during long library sessions. But, you know what? That’s so okay at uni! You get to set your own schedule so ravel in this privilege before going out into the real-world!.
3. Listen to your needs
If you have no energy for a day, two or three, it’s better to recognise that you won’t get loads done and be kind to yourself. No one is 100% productive on the daily, so listen to your needs. Your working week might end up looking more unorthodox than you may expect, but that might also mean that you may start working smarter not harder.
4. Be the tough love you need
That being said, sometimes you need to be tough on yourself, sit down and face the work that you’ve been avoiding. There is a difference between listening to yourself and avoiding work, and it may be hard to recognise, but it’s an important distinction to nail down.