I went on Timehop the other day and realised it was four years since I moved into student halls at Northumbria University and it made me think about another student/university post. When I was in my first year although I had a bit of a schedule, all the nights out had an effect on my work and I wish I had been more organised. Here's how I managed my time in my second and third years during university.

Buy a planner

When you're in school you're often given a planner or diary to keep note of coursework and exams, but when you start university you have to buy one yourself. Buy yourself an A5 academic year diary and record every piece of coursework, assignment details and deadlines and it will be easy to keep on track with your course. If you think of something to include in your dissertation, write it in the planner. If you schedule a meeting with a tutor, write it in the planner. You won't regret it.

Have a schedule

Aside from your timetabled lectures, seminars and workshops, you should be doing a few hours at least of work per day. In your free periods between classes, get yourself to a computer and do some work to pass the time. If you do this every day that you're in uni you won't fall behind, even if you're typing up lecture notes it will all help when it comes to exams season. I didn't go home in between classes and spent 'frees' in the library.

Prioritise your work

You may have research to do, seminar prep, lecture notes to type up and categorise, coursework and dissertation prep along with revision. Getting small tasks out of the way is a good starting point as you can focus your time on important assignments and preparation. I typed up lecture notes as soon as I was free in order to dedicate evenings and sometimes weekends during busier months to tasks that were lengthy and important.

Have some time off

Instead of procrastinating and putting off tasks, if you have a schedule in place then you can have time off without feeling guilty or falling behind. If you go on a few nights out a week, make sure your tasks are done before you go out, as you're definitely not going to want to do them when you're hungover. If you go away for the weekend to see friends or family, make sure your work is done or you can do it on the train so that you can spend quality time with people you love. Giving yourself time to relax and de-stress is vital when it comes to your mental and physical health too.

Doing advanced work

If you know you have a seminar in a weeks time and you haven't got anything to do in between classes and you can access the next prep sheet, do the prep. Sometimes I managed to do research and preparation for classes two weeks in advance and it meant it didn't build up on me. Especially when it comes to your third year, if you already know what topic you're writing your project on, get some research done ahead of time. That means when it comes down to the nitty gritty, you already know what to write about and that's less stress on your plate.