So, you’re a student at an Australian university – that’s awesome! Australia has some of the most highly ranked universities in the world, is an incredibly diverse country, and offers hundreds, if not thousands of different majors to choose from. But what now? Being a student is just the beginning – in order to achieve success, you’ll need to focus on your studies and put in some hard work.
Luckily, being a successful student in Australia doesn’t have to be scary, or even super difficult. In fact, it can be quite easy. If you want to find out how to improve your grades and become a top student in just three steps, keep reading!
Step 1: Practise Time Management
Learning how to manage our time is something we start doing from very early on. Time management takes the form of activities such as learning that if we eat dinner quickly, then we get more TV time afterwards, or that if we wake up early, then we can play video games in the morning.
But, as we get older, it’s no secret that time management becomes far more difficult and tedious than we could have ever imagined. However, just because it’s hard doesn’t mean that it’s impossible – and it is an incredibly important part of being a university student.
The best way to improve your time management skills is to plan. Some students are able to work with just a monthly calendar, while some students need to plan out their days literally by the hour! Find out what works best for you, and take five minutes every evening to update your plans.
Planning isn’t just for overall time management, either – if you’ve got an assignment, test, or exam coming up, planning is the key to achieving a high grade. Leaving everything until the night before is a procrastinator’s dream, but unfortunately, it will leave you high and dry when the due date comes along.
While learning how to stop procrastinating is a huge task, taking simple steps to avoid it is the best short-term solution. Plan your individual days while taking into account your other commitments, be specific about what exactly you’re going to get done, note down what breaks you want to take, and do your absolute best to stick to the plan.
Step 2: Utilise Student Support
Student support services are an amazing tool that seems pretty obvious but is incredibly under-utilised by students (just like you). If you pay attention, you’ll notice that top students tend to make friends with their lecturer, go to optional tutoring sessions, volunteer for small class roles, and generally make their presence known.
What you might not see is that high performing students are also the ones who make the most of free counselling, visit the student mentors, attend degree planning workshops, go to networking events, and more! Australia even has national student associations, such as CISA or AFIS for international students.
The university culture in Australia can be less intimidating than the culture of big colleges and universities in the US and Europe, and it’s fairly easy to find a large but tight-knit Aussie community to become a part of (regardless of whether you are a domestic or international student).
Here are five simple ways to utilise student support and get involved in your university community:
- Introduce yourself in-person to your lecturer or professor after the first class
- Send an email thanking your tutor or mentor, and telling them something new that you learnt that day that you found interesting
- Go to club expos and events – you’ll find student-run and school-run organisations and events that would love to have you involved
- Talk to the person next to you in class – ask them out for coffee, or add them on Facebook (if they seem comfortable and enthusiastic)
- Volunteer for positions such as student council or class representative
Step 3: Manage Your Space
Have you ever seen those perfectly curated study spaces that look like they’re straight out of a Pinterest board? Yeah? Well, they’re not always just for show. Studies show that cluttered spaces can increase cortisol (the stress hormone), and leave students more prone to anxiety and stressful feelings.
There are many ways that you can transform your room or office (or even just your desk) into a perfect study space that will encourage you to get more done and reach your academic goals.
Your desk is the most important part of curating an organised and desirable study space, and what you should focus on first. Make sure you keep it clean and tidy, by removing trash and dishes every day and wiping it down with surface spray at least once a week.
Items you should have on your desk include a water bottle, any charging cables you might need, a clock or timer, at least two pens and a pencil, some notepaper or a general notebook, a water bottle (make sure you get fresh water every day and wash it frequently), and some earplugs or noise-blocking headphones.
Make sure you eliminate irrelevant distractions, too – don’t set up your desk facing a TV, try to
leave your phone in another room if possible, set up screentime limits for websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Netflix, and try to stay away from other people who are prone to distract you.
If you have the luxury of having an entire room to yourself, you should make the most of it by covering a few bases. Try to keep it at a moderate temperature (not too hot or too cold), stay away from your bed as much as possible, use bright and warm lighting from multiple sources if possible, and take breaks!
Becoming a successful university student in Australia doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact, by following the three above steps, it can be both simple and fun! Through practising time management, making the most of student support and services, and managing your space to the best of your ability, you’ll be able to reach your student goals in no time at all.