Learning at University

Almost everything changes when you move to university and the way you learn is no exception! The biggest jump is from being told exactly what you need to do, all the time, to being almost completely independent at university.

One issue I have with learning at university is motivating myself. You can talk to other people on your course, but there’s no one here who will consistently tell you what to do and when to do it, like there most likely was at your school. This is a prime example of why self motivation is so important at university because otherwise you wouldn’t get very far in your studies! My advice would be to figure out when you work best and motivate yourself with breaks to enjoy doing whatever you like.

This links to taking responsibility for your own learning which is vital to success at university. You should devise a system of noting deadlines and what you need to do for each lecture/tutorial etc. on your timetable. I do this every weekend to set out what I need to do during the week to make sure I use my time outside of lectures wisely. This, and learning at university in general, isn’t straight forward, as everyone has their own way of learning! Everyone gets different things out of the same lectures/tutorials etc. due to the way we learn and study as individuals. This is usually a good thing as it shows your independence! You can’t be too critical of yourself and the way you learn compared to others as that will be detrimental to your studies; you have to be aware of the fact that you won’t learn or study exactly the same way as others on your course.

In my case, as a history student, I have far fewer contact hours at university than I did at sixth form (from 20 hours to 9 hours!). When thinking about motivation levels and taking responsibility for your own learning, you can see how important it is for me to keep on top of my work as I have so much time to myself that I should use productively but I don’t have much of a timetable to tell me when to work. I have to study in my own time which I could spend on absolutely anything else so there’s got to be some strong self motivation there! My best advice would be to get into a routine of figuring out exactly what you need to read or study before when and then carrying out this reading and studying whenever suits you during your day. Always make time for fun though!

I’m still learning as I go but hopefully I’ve helped some of you figure out how best to organise your studies to adapt to learning at university!

Written by:

Hey, I'm Kiah: a footballer, drummer and an avid film fan. I'm originally from Durham, England, now a second year History student at Dundee!

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