Lessons I learned from my undergrad

Hello everyone, Anne here, postgraduate tutor in the Skills Centre! In this post, I’d like to share some of my college experiences and tips on how to get through college the best way possible.

A little bit about myself:

Originally from Germany, I have two undergrad degrees, one in Communication and Media, and the other one in English. After completing my BAs, I moved to Bristol for my MA in English literature. I started my PhD at UCC in English literature in 2017, and just completed my thesis. Over the course of my studies, I have learned a lot of lessons and gained insights into college life that I wish I’d known earlier! Here are my main tips:


Make a schedule and stick to it

Coming to college from secondary school, it’s super easy to get swept away by college life and lecture schedules that are all over the place. Amongst all the distractions, it can be very hard to figure out when you work best, and what assignments to do when. Make sure you figure out what time of day you can concentrate best (for some that’s in the mornings, for some that’s at night, there’s no right or wrong here!). Use that as a guide to structure your days and carve out specific time slots that are allocated to college work. Not every day is the same in terms of productivity. But you will find that if you stick to your best working times, you get more done in less time and it will become a habit to get college work done!


Lacking motivation and holding yourself accountable

Especially now that we’re all online, it can be easy to postpone and procrastinate college work. If you find yourself spending way too much time on YouTube or TikTok and end up cramming work just before assignments are due, consider sharing your deadlines with a friend or family members that check in on you and your progress every once in a while. This can be super helpful to hold yourself accountable, especially with ongoing assignments. Let them know what small chunks of work you want to get done when, and when they text you to ask how your work is going, you can tell them about your progress! When I struggled with completing assignments during my undergrad, this was a way to help me stay on track. Even better if it was a college friend who took the same class—we could share experiences and help each other out in addition to avoiding pulling all-nighters just before the deadline!


Be okay with giving up

As you read at the start, I have two undergraduate degrees that I took at the same time. Coming from secondary school, giving up was just not part of my mentality. That’s why I decided to push through my first BA degree, even though the programme didn’t meet my expectations and my interests as I hoped it would. Looking back now, I wish I would have saved myself a lot of anxiety by just transferring to my second BA course entirely. Long story short, be okay with giving up things that are not good for you. Your mental health is super important, and letting go of things that are toxic for you is a strength and not a weakness!


I hope my insights can make the daunting college process a little easier. Good luck and enjoy your time here at UCC!