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If you don’t know already, as a PR student my life is a little hectic. Wait… Scrap that. VERY hectic but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I knew exactly what I was getting into before I applied to attend Southampton Solent University and study on their Public Relations and Communication course. PR is a hectic career and preparing for this whilst studying at university is the perfect mesh. Not only am I able to learn from PR practitioners but also put the skills I have learn’t to good use with live client briefs. The perfect combo!
Luckily for me, I’ve been able to be successful with my assignments whilst at University. This is a great improvement for me because I was never able to be a straight ‘A’ student in every subject at school. Just goes to show, when you find your niche, you’re able to achieve the highest possible marks. Success! I’m so pleased that i’ve been able to see great outcomes from the hard work I’ve put in with a number of 2:1’s and 1st’s under my belt.
If you want to follow your chosen career, getting it right at university is a must. Here are my quick tips for achieving the best you can:
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1) Make time for yourself! You wouldn’t think this would be on the list but it is. I tormented myself in first and second year by not allowing a day or an evening just to myself. You need it! You really do. I don’t know how many times, I started doing work and didn’t finish until the late hours of the night/ early hours of the morning. It’s not healthy. Trust me. I was exhausted, stressed out and my boyfriend will second this, I was grumpy! That’s never a nice thing for the people around you. So schedule in some time for yourself, even if it’s for an hour an evening to watch you favourite programme on television. Just do something to relax and take your mind off of the stresses. It actually helps to give you a fresh mind when looking at your work again and you’ll be able to spot mistakes.
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2) Time Management! Now i’m a little hypocritical because I don’t always stick to the amount of time i’ve allocated for a job because I’m usually ‘on a roll’ and don’t want to lose my train of thought. However, if I could change something about myself, it would be to stick to the times i’ve allocated for each assignment. I am getting better and if I have another task that is more of a priority then i’ll move onto that. If you’re just going into your first year of university, right a list of your units and schedule so many hours a week, to work on assignments related to that unit. If it’s getting close to the deadline date then add on extra hours for that particular assignment and reduce the ones that might not necessarily be as important. Don’t cut them out altogether, keep the flow going!
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3) Formative Feedback! I must stress. GET FEEDBACK. Even if your lecturers don’t offer it personally, there are usually support staff at the university who can proof read your work with you and go through the improvements that are necessary. Feedback is that element that keeps you improving and without feedback you might not achieve the marks you want. So whenever you can, get people to read through your work and check over the marking scheme, there might be things you’ve missed out that are key to getting within a certain grade boundary.
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4) Ask Questions! Might seem a little obvious but if you’re stuck, go and ask your lecturer for the answer or for guidance so you can resolve the issue. The worst thing to do is to carry on your work thinking it will be ok, to then get feedback saying you’ve got the wrong concept and have to re-do the work you’ve just spent hours doing. So take some time out of your day to arrange a tutorial with your lecturer and go through it with them. It could be the difference between a 2:2 and a 1st!
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5) Do your best! Overall, just do your best! That’s all you can do and like my parents say ‘don’t kill yourself over a piece of work’. If you’ve done enough hours and you’re running out of time and you feel that you’ve got a strong piece of work then submit it and forget about it. At least until you get your feedback and mark because you’ll stress too much over a piece of work that has been submitted and can’t be changed. Concentrate on the next assignment rather than worry about the previous one. Seriously just do your best. People work at their own levels. As much as you want to achieve the highest mark you need to set your level, achieve that and then slowly improve and see how far you can get. If you can’t achieve the highest marks, It isn’t the end of the world. Your best is your best. That’s what you can achieve and you’ve worked hard for it. So be proud of it! 🙂
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I hope these tips have come in handy. As a third year student I wish I had these tips before I started university, I think i would’ve lost less hair from stressing and not giving myself time for me. It is necessary. So give these steps ago and I wish you all the luck in the world with your degree!