If you’re like me and struggle to ‘reinvent yourself’ each January, the time society has led us to believe is the best time to start something new, join the gym or simply be kinder to your peers, keep reading! In my opinion, January is a month where I desperately try to perfect my lifestyle, and end up feeling eternally guilty for not making the gym, or eating a fat slice of cake. So I figured, maybe I should make my resolutions now, at the beginning of a fresh academic year.
It’s perhaps not the most practiced of traditions – (in fact can it even be called a tradition?!) but maybe it’s something all returning students should consider, to benefit themselves and perhaps any lucky Fresher’s who happen to be reading this! Most students probably think of things in their heads that they want to improve on from last year, but I bet there aren’t as many who write them down, and I often find that this makes a big difference. When something is written down its more official, more real, and if you stick something on your wall and read it everyday, (or in a blog where other people might witness your failure) there’s no excuse not to act!
So here it goes, my New (Uni) Year Resolutions, some which only apply to me, some to others on my course and hopefully some for everyone!
1) Blog more regularly
This obviously applies directly to me but it’s hopefully something that will benefit any readers I have hiding out there, offering advice, entertainment or a distraction from coursework.
2) Start Coursework/Projects on the day it is set
I don’t mean start and finish the whole thing, just do something that’s even remotely related to the topic of the project, such as re-reading and highlighting relevant notes, doing a bit of research, taking a book out of the library. On the day the task is set I (usually) feel more excited or motivated about it, but then as the weeks go on it becomes a bigger task that I have to complete in a rapidly decreasing amount of time. If I’ve started something, or even have a vague idea, when I come to completing big chunks of it I’m hoping it will seem less daunting!
3) Use more precedents in my work, and write why I have used them
Now I sense some of you wondering what on earth I’m talking about, but people on a design course will know all too well. Precedents is basically another word for ‘work of others’ or ‘inspiration’. This was the weakest part of all my projects last year, so in my up and coming projects I’m going to make a real effort to look at more examples and show how other architects work has influenced my own!
4) Make better use of the facilities the University has to offer me
Towards the end of the year I started using the library a bit more, but I can put my hand on my heart and say the only time I stepped into the workshop was the day we did our induction. As the School of Architecture is moving to the new part of Eldon Building, I’m definitely going to make a conscious effort this year to make use of all the brand spanking new equipment they’ve got, and hopefully it will have a positive impact on my work.
5) Budget, budget, budget
Current students will know this word far too much, and this year I have promised my Mother that I will budget, and I will budget properly. I will sit down and work how much money I can spend each week, taking into account what goes in and out of my bank each month. Finances can be so difficult to judge in your first year, you’ve never been out and completed a ‘weekly shop’! I was in the tricky situation last year where my loan didn’t even cover the cost of my University halls, and I know a lot of my friends were in a similar situation. My Mum made me sit down and estimate how much I was going to spend on things like food, toiletries, course materials, travel, going-out etc. So off I went, working out how I could fund fresher’s week with only £15 in the ‘going out’ section (not through choice!) Everything seemed to work out fine in the end though, I muddled through first year not really taking much notice of my bank statements, but this year I want to make more of an effort, so I can hopefully save a bit of money as well. One tip I would give to new students though would to have a bit of money spare at the beginning of the year, as with most courses you’ll find that you suddenly have to buy certain books or equipment (especially with Architecture, you have to get certain sketchbooks and model-making bits – I’d keep at least £100 aside if you can.) You may also decide you want to join the gym, a sports club or another student society, most of which will have a membership fee, plus there’s always the possible situation of moving into your new accommodation only to realise you don’t have a kettle/toaster/you left your duvet at home.
6) Gym/Swim/Stop sitting down so much
At the beginning of my first year I thought there was no point in joining the gym, I hardly used my membership at home I thought, no point in wasting an extra £120 on a membership here. Then I started Uni, and ate pasta approximately 5 times a week, and a packet of biscuits every time I had a cup of tea. The months developed and I could no longer fit into a skirt I wore in Fresher’s week, and I knew the gym was calling me. By November I was a member of St. Paul’s Gym, and I began to get into a routine of going a few times a week, but towards the end of the year my routine slipped as the coursework increased. This year I’m going to join from the beginning of the year, it works out at £10 a month for a year, which isn’t a lot and includes hire of badminton courts and all exercise classes. I also found out recently that there is a swimming pool near Maggie Rule halls, which I had no idea about all of last year (very annoying as I love swimming!), if you want to look it up it’s a called Charter Community Sports Centre, so I’m definitely going to make use of that this year!
So these are my resolutions for my New Year at University, hopefully there is some useful information in this long rambling post! Let me know what your New Uni Year Resolutions are!