Top tips for academic and personal success at university
Student spotlight | Reece C, BA (Hons) Media Communication Cultures
Third-year, BA (Hons) Media Communication Cultures student, Reece shares with us his top pieces of advice to anyone thinking of studying one of the Media (single or combined) degrees in The School of Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Beckett University.
How would you recommend students manage their time whilst on the course?
As soon as each module starts, check the module handbook on MyBeckett to see when your deadlines are. Put them in your calendar, write them on your notice board, plan out when you will start the assignments. Being proactive and productive with your deadlines will increase your determination to achieve a high grade.
Make sure you prioritise your studies and be realistic about the time you need to complete essays and assignments – including research and reading time. Having a schedule or plan is helpful to work out how much time you should allocate to each element of the modules. I also suggest focusing on long term goals like what grades you want to achieve as this should help you stay focused.
What advice would you give someone on staying engaged with the course?
The most important thing is making sure you attend all your classes. Some days you just don’t want to get out of bed, I get that. I’ve been there. But the importance of attending classes cannot be overstated, you learn a lot of extra things from the lecturers speaking about the topics and class discussions in seminars. Even if you can take one positive thing you’ve learnt from a class, it can really help with your assignments. If you cannot make a class for whatever reason, it is advised that you email your tutor to explain your circumstances, and they will be more than understanding. Try to ensure you catch up on the missed work in your spare time.
What guidance would you give to someone regarding finances whilst studying at university?
One of the hardest things you will be presented with at university is managing your money. You may find that you only have little money left for the term once your rent is paid for. For some students, the maintenance loan may not be enough to cover the rent. If this is the case, I recommend reaching out to the student money team on the Student Hub for support. There are teams within the university who will help you with applications for further additional financial support, including hardship grants.
Before you start your course, take out a student bank account. While you most likely have a current account already, a student account with any high-street bank entitles you to an interest-free overdraft of between £500 - £3000, meaning you can go overdrawn up to these balances without being charged. The best part? You don’t need to clear it until at least one year after you have left university. These accounts are designed to help students, all you need is your UCAS 16-digit status code, and you can open these accounts online almost instantly at any large UK bank.
What important information would you give to someone to help them on the course?
Utilise the University’s free resources, the libraries at both campuses contain an extensive catalogue of reading resources designed to help you in your studies. These books are free to borrow for a short period of time, and you will be notified via email when your book must be returned. The library also offers ICT services to all students, including desktop PCs to work at, laptops to loan for the day, and online Microsoft Office facilities so you do not need to pay for Microsoft Word or PowerPoint yourself. Not only that, but there are also subject librarians for every course who are there to help support you with all your academic literature needs, including referencing, tracing sources or even just finding the right literature for your essay.
What’s one thing you wish someone had told you when starting a new course at university?
I wish someone had told me when starting university to make sure I take me-time. The most important thing to remember whilst at university is to look after your mental and physical health equally. Every single day I take a walk, attend a fitness or yoga class, read and meditate. These activities help me to unwind from any stress and release tension that I’ve been holding in. I go to bed with a clear head and mostly get a good night sleep. So, join the University gym, start a yoga class, try running, even walking. Take some time each day to soothe your mind with a good book, or TV show, or try something unique you’ve never done before and really enjoy your university years as they go so quick!