Everyone knows that a university timetable can be a bit of a pain. Often we have a couple of hours of break between lectures and seminars, and for those who don’t live in the city centre, the idea of going home and coming back is not very efficient. But there are few other options that you might have not thought about! This post is for those who want to make the most out of that free time.
1. Catch up with work/revise
Let’s start with the obvious one. It is a perfect opportunity to do some work, revise some material and do some practical question papers. Just imagine how nice would it be to go back home and just relax, because you have done all your work! Newcastle University provides fantastic study spaces, you don’t even have to carry your own laptop with you! Some people find it easier to study outside their house, as usually there are not that many distractions around. So put down your phone and get to work!
2. Prepare in advance
Lectures take about 50 minutes and are condensed with broad ideas, new terminology and challenging issues that need more consideration. That is why many students find them overwhelming and it is difficult for them to keep up with what the lecturer is talking about. Doing some readings in advance or at least going through the lecture slides can be a complete game-changer. When you have some structure in your head, it will be easier for you to understand the subject better and remember more.
3. Practice language skills
We have learned to perceive our smartphones as objects of pure distraction but the fact is, that they are powerful pieces of technology and it is entirely up to us how we use them. One of the great things that you can use your phone for is learning in a fun, engaging way! And why not brush up on your foreign language skills while you have some spare time? Download some great language learning apps like Memrise, Drops, Duolingo or Babbel and with some consistency, you are on your way to becoming a polyglot!
4. Train your brain
Now let’s focus on your brain. Your focus, memory, speed and problem solving are skills that highly influence your academic performance and can be easily improved with some practice. Apps like Lumosity, Peak, and Elevate are a total must-have in this area.
How many of us have yearly resolutions to read more and how come we rarely ever improve in this aspect? I have realised that the key is to always have something to read at hand. Whether it is the articles you never have time to read saved in the Pocket or tons of books that you can fit into a small and light-weight e-reader. Just be prepared and set yourself monthly goals- it may be to read 3 books a month. Another great idea is to listen to audio books whenever you’re on the go! They are in a different format than physical books but it doesn’t change that they contain the same value and message.
6. Organise yourself/plan/set goals
Some stress is easily avoidable with good organisation. Why not use your break to colour-code your Google Calendar, set yourself some weekly goals and tasks to do, or check what is going on at the University or in the city? Updating your calendar at least twice a week will help you to stay on top of the game and avoid missing important deadlines. You could also spend some time looking closely at your finances- analysing your expenses, budgeting and keeping track of your earnings.
7. Do some meal planning + shopping list
Good nutrition is a base of your health and determines how you feel. That is why it is so important to make sure you are eating healthy, well-balanced meals that can be simple, cheap and delicious at the same time! In your free time google some recipes, make a weekly meal plan and prepare your shopping list. It will save you a lot of time during the week and you can easily avoid eating junk food which is likely to happen when you have no plan at all.