Student Weekly Tips: Preparing for Semester 2

Next week is a non-teaching week, often referred to as ‘Refreshers’. The idea is to have some rest time after exams have finished and prepare yourself for the new Semester. Some members of the Library Student Team have some tips on how to get off to a great start in Semester 2!

Reflecting on Last Semester

‘This is actually a great time to take an opportunity to reflect on last semester before things get busy again. Whether that’s looking at your routine, learning some more effective and less time-consuming revision techniques or planning in time for your wellbeing. I have also recently found that taking the time in quieter periods of the year such as this is helpful to schedule in time to sign up to relevant workshops from the library and counselling service.’ — Rachel, Fashion Management and Marketing

My Learning Essentials promo poster
My Learning Essentials (MLE) offers loads of useful workshops for your studies

‘The start of a new semester is a great time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. Other than reflecting on your academics, I also reflect on the time I spent socialising, working my health and fitness, and so forth. I remind myself that improvement comes with managing time, balancing responsibilities and that it is not a typical linear process, it can be up and down and that is okay!’ — Salma, Politics and International Relations

‘Just before you start the new semester is a good time to optimise and streamline your routines. Looking back on what worked and if there were any inefficient methods for doing things that you could cut out can make your life easier in the second semester and leave you with a bit more free time!’ — Olivia, Psychology

Grade Tracking

A line graph on dotted paper underneath pens and a ruler
Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

‘I personally don’t find it easy to track grades through the Student System that you can access via My Manchester> Tools> Student System>Student Centre>Self Service>Enrolment> View My grades.

I instead use an excel sheet! It’s the same one where I have a schedule for how I work through my assessments, on a separate tab, I’ll have grades that I manually type in. This system doesn’t work for everyone! Whenever I receive a mark, I immediately reflect on it, and look in comparison to my other marks. There are plenty of templates and gradebooks available, here’s a link to one for Microsoft.’ — Salma

‘I didn’t track my grades too rigorously until it came to the end of the academic year and I wanted to see the average mark I needed to get in my final year in order to achieve a certain grade. You get a rough idea of how you’re doing anyway with the regular assignment and exam marks throughout the semester, which I’d check once they’d informed us they had been released. Then it was only at the end of my second year of my degree (and before the research project dissertation for my Master’s) that I bashed numbers into a spreadsheet and calculated weighted marks (using the module weightings) to see what I needed to aim for. Depending on how you’ve done, knowing the mark you want to aim for can add pressure but then again, maybe that can work in your favour if you study better under pressure! — Olivia

Work, Study and Life

‘I’ve found the second semester to feel much less packed than the first, the Easter break in the middle makes it roomier and I don’t get overwhelmed with lectures like I often do in the first semester. This extra breathing space makes the the work and study balance much easier. With the weather also getting better I tend to plan weekend getaways or day trips almost every other weekend, getting out of the city after a week of hard work is very mentally rewarding!’ — Raghav, Mechatronic Engineering

‘I have noticed that since having a 10–4 or 10–3 routine, I am able to work consistently, still have an hour lunch but have a much stronger focus than attempting to work for longer hours (or working in scattered chunks). This is really helpful as it allows me to switch off in the evening as well as plan in some great activities in my spare time. I have had (and still have the tendency to) mope around beating myself up for not working yet also not making fun plans. Doing these steps above has really helped me to experience this feeling much less. I find it great to also actively plan in frequent and consistent down time and fun activities to ensure that I switch off throughout the week.’ — Rachel

Keeping Healthy

‘Maintaining a healthy work life balance is key to making sure you are staying healthy. Make sure to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, scheduling your time will hopefully mean you give yourself more than enough time in a day to complete any work and get a full night’s sleep. Also adding at least one activity to your weekly schedule can help with keeping healthy, this could be attending the gym, doing yoga, going hiking etc.’ — Nuura, Architecture

‘One thing that can be tricky to maintain is getting your 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and having a healthy diet overall. I try to ‘recycle’ a few fairly quick and simple (but healthy!) recipes which I know really well a couple of times a week, so that cooking doesn’t take up too much time or mental effort. When I’m at the supermarket, I’ll make sure to pick up some bananas or packs of blueberries too so that I can get another 1 or 2 portions in!’ — Olivia

A basket of various fruits
Photo by Jonas Kakaroto on Unsplash

‘I am often too busy working that I have limited time to cook and eat healthy. With quick and free delivery options, I find myself grabbing my phone and ordering greasy foods without having to worry about breaking the bank in the process. When I’m motivated enough to cook, I do this over the weekend and pack portions in the freezer. When I eat home cooked meals, I feel better and find that I am able to maintain my energy levels throughout the day compared with the spikes and dips experienced when I binge on snacks and fast foods. I also try to drink more by filling my bottle with flavoured and herbs infused water.’ — Fatimah, Law

‘I have found being a member of one society really helpful for keeping healthy in a holistic way (for me, this is the Pole Dancing and Burlesque society). Having the sense of community through socialising as well as exercise activities really helps me get multiple wellbeing aspects once or twice a week which makes it really manageable and not feel too much of a burden. I have also found that getting out first thing for a half an hour walk and then going for another in the evening has really helped my mindset overall, particularly with my perspective on work.’ — Rachel

‘I find joining in with university-run events and programmes, like Sporticipate, very useful for keeping fit. For example, I like to play squash every Thursday evening and do yoga every Wednesday morning. If you have something regular that you enjoy, recurring every week, then it very quickly becomes part of your weekly routine and you don’t have to think about it.’ — Olivia

Maybe some of our approaches will be useful to you and allow you to have a successful and fulfilling second semester. Check back next week for another Student Weekly Tips!



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Library Student Team

Library Student Team

The University of Manchester Library Student Team