Managing Deadlines

Deadlines just seem to appear out of nowhere… I remember attending my first couple of lectures and now semester 2 is almost over. My deadlines are approaching fast, and before I know it my exams will be here. If you are in the same boat as me then please read on and share my insanity of preparing. 

Today I will be showing you how you can manage your deadlines in a more organised way which may benefit you. This is my personal way of dealing with my deadlines.

I am very fortunate this semester to only have 4 deadlines; 2 are in March (15th and 20th), 1 on May 24th and an online test which has not been announced. Although I do have more exams this time round (I will do another post on preparing for that) – exams are my downfall! I am going to go step-by-step on how I approach my deadlines but some of these will overlap with another. And you may take different approaches than what I usually do – which is fine. As long as it works for you effectively, that is all that matters! 

Looking Back – Feedback | Semester 1:
One of the most important ways in which I have learn’t to pick up on any mistakes is to go back through all of my semester 1 work which has been marked. If there is a piece of work where you do not really understand the feedback, or seem confused because you thought you did well – then make notes on your feedback and make an appointment with the person who marked your work. This is exactly what I did when I got a piece of work back which was quite low (49/100 – ahhhhhh). But being able to speak to my teacher, I was able to see where I had gone wrong. Honestly, it was so stupid it makes me so sad thinking about it. 

Attendance: 
If you are at university then you have probably heard EVERY teacher tell you “attending lectures will have a significant impact on your grade” and well they are right. I make sure to attend every lecture for each module. My university uploads all lectures slides usually 24 hours before, which means I can plan ahead. I definitely advise downloading, annotating, linking sources etc. for each lecture. I tend to download each Powerpoint and then use the “notes” section to add anything the teacher is saying that are not on the slides. Then bring it all together in the evening. By doing this, all of your work is up to date and when you go back to look at your slides just before your deadlines you will not be going “when did I learn that?!” – I have done that. Do not do it, it is not fun stressing out.

Handbook: 
For each module I get an online copy of a handbook which you can download. This contains everything you could possibly need; tutorial leaders, office hours, weeks of lectures, resources and assessments. I print a copy out at the start of the semester and keep them all together in a folder. Usually within the first week it will be available and should have all of the assessment details in – the important part!

Deadline Poster:
As soon as I know my assessment dates I note them all down on an A4 sheet and blue tack it above my desk. I also have the sticky notes app on my laptop so they are always visible. Which is great if you are forgetful. 

Essay Plans:
If you have access to your assessment information such as essay titles, then create a plan. Even if it is 100 words in total and you have not even done the reading for that lecture. A good starting point is to go the corresponding lecture of your essay title, glance over it and create a basic plan from that. Then find your resources used for that week and see if they will be helpful for you or whether you need to go and research more books. Creating an essay plan at the start of the semester will help you out so much in the long run. Just keep going back and editing it until you are happy to start writing. 

*Create a bibliography along the way; even if you decide to never use that book. There is nothing worse then having to go back once you have nearly finished your essay to find every reference.* 

Tutorial Leaders:
If you unsure about any of the essay titles or other assessment pieces then go and speak to your tutor as soon as you can. It is better to ask a stupid question then panic because you have no idea what you are doing.

After creating a few draft essay plans I like to go and consult with my tutorial leaders and see if I am on the right track. They cannot mark paragraphs of work so just a condensed bullet plan will be good; I also add extra resources I am thinking of using at the bottom to see if they are appropriate. Getting feedback before you start an essay is so important. I always have the issue of straying away from what the question is actually asking. 

Resources:
Getting all your resources organised before your deadlines are really important. I always look in the handbook first to see if there are any core set readings for the overall module, as the area you’ll be writing about will be summarised.Then I will check the week I had the lecture to find the key & additional readings set – I tend to just get ALL of those books out of the library as I live off campus and it is easier for me. 

But once I have my essay plan sorted I know what I need to look for, so it limits my researching down. Plus it saves you from going out to the library late when you deadline is due the next day… 

Setting an Earlier Deadline:
If you the type of person who literally cannot write a single thing until you have that overwhelming pressure of a deadline being the next day – then trick yourself into an earlier date. So if you have a deadline on the 16th March, then set it for the 9th/10th – then if gives you time to go over it, read it aloud, get somebody else to read it etc. 

Do Not Stress!
I feel a bit of a hypocrite for putting this down because I get SO stressful when deadlines are approaching. But if it so important not to overwork yourself. Make sure to give yourself a clean space to work in so you’ll instantly be in a better head space. Create your own study haven; check out mine if you want. Use your pretty note pads, have the radio on, get a cup of tea, and make sure to have breaks! I study downstairs, next to my living room so my boyfriend will come in a lot to check on me and make sure I eat. At the end of the day, the worst that will happen is you may have to retake an assessment – for me personally, I would rather retake an assessment then an exam. 

I hope this post was helpful for anybody who has deadlines approaches at university. It is a really stressful time but it will be over so quickly. 
If you have any tips that really work for you then please let me know! 

Paige .-.

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