Study and time management

To be a good Key Volunteer and be involved in your movement, you need good time management skills.

Start by making a plan. Use a time-sheet. A time-sheet is a document with the whole week set out as empty slots.

Firstly, sit down & fill in all the usual set things in your week:

  • Lectures, pracs, etc…
  • Church
  • Work (may vary week to week if casual)

Now decide when you need to get up each morning to get going. Include in here:

  • Shower and getting dressed
  • Breakfast (and preparation of said feast)
  • Quiet Time
  • Exercise
  • Travel time to Uni/work etc…

You may prefer to do some of these later in the day, that is fine – slot them in there. This will give you an idea of when you need to go to bed the following evening. Whatever you do in the evenings on different days of the week…*Put a bedtime in now* That gives you a start and an end time to each day – that sets the healthy boundaries for your week, getting enough sleep & being healthy

Here is now an excellent time to think about the big things you want to be part of your life; God & Building His Kingdom. Have a look at it and put in things of eternal value:

  • Catalyst Group & prep time if you are leading a part
  • Evangelism Time on campus (join with others)
  • Discipleship Time
  • Prayer time on campus
  • Key Volunteers meeting (if you are a KV) etc…
  • Add in now what you need to run your week – a lot of this will vary week to week:
  • Lunch (& preparation of said feast)
  • Dinner (& preparation of said feast)
  • House-hold chores eg: shopping/cleaning
    Administration eg: Bill paying

Ok, now look at Uni priorities for the week & put them in. ** Leave some blank spaces so that when unexpected things come up or stuff takes longer, you are not thrown out of kilter**

  • Consider:
  • Assignments –size, difficulty & when they are due
  • Group assignment time
  • Preparation for any pracs / tutes
  • Prac / Tutes Write-ups etc…
  • Preparation for placement eg; prac teaching / nursing placement
  • Exam prep

The balance of semester should be taken into consideration ie: focus on assignments first, then translate into exam prep. Not much point madly studying for exams in the first 5 weeks of a semester, but there is an excellent point to clearing all your assignments & group work 4 or more weeks before the exam period…

Look at what is left *there should be a reasonable amount of white space free*

  • Happy-times – social times, rest & relaxation go light on this to start with, add in more
  • Special events – ie: movie with friends, a birthday party or family gathering

Balance is the key – don’t ignore happy times– social times, rest & relaxation (RnR). You do at your peril! Remember to leave some blank spaces for the unexpected. Feel free at this point to re-jig some things & tie up loose ends.

Now Use a Blank time-sheet.

Print-out and take a blank time-sheet as well as your filled out time-sheet with you. Every few hours through the day fill in what you actually did! Be honest, fill in your blank sheet with what you actually did. Use a fluoro to colour when you did what was in the plan You will soon see how well you are following your plan. Look at what % you hit each week. Don’t be surprised and dismayed if you only got 40% accuracy to the plan in your first week. After all, you are transforming from varying degrees of non-planned lout to unstressed excellence. Now, take hold of it and look to the next week. Challenge yourself — See if you can up the % hit! Let it take away the procrastination cycle, you can hit it hard

Use some accountability

This can be the thing that really makes it fly. Invite others to join with you in doing it. You may already have a small group you meet with at uni, or set-up a time to meet each week, even just for 15mins to check how you are going. You could even set up like a Facebook Group to be accountable with friends.

Not enough space

What if you had no spaces after “a) Firstly, sit down & fill in all the usual set things in your week:” You now have no time to *spend with God & in Building His Kingdom?* This is a such a key area. Please don’t say: “oh, well I need to focus on my studies now, I will build God’s Kingdom when I am working full-time and have more time” How many hours of contact do you have at uni now? Is it really 40+ hours in a week? Guess what…40+ hrs a week is what working full-time is! Generally speaking add another ½+ hr travel each way to work for a total of 46+ hrs of your week is a full-time job

*We need to be faithful where we are at currently.*

It is about being faithful with the small things. Building God’s Kingdom now, as a student means you will very likely continue to Build God’s Kingdom when working full time. Not Building God’s Kingdom now…means you will very likely not Build God’s Kingdom when working full time.

Re-jig your timetable

Have a good look. Is there something you could give up?

Overhaul your life…

“If something was easily done, we would already be doing it.” I am going to suggest a radical change would serve you well. Go part ¾ or ½ time with your uni studies Consider this, you push yourself really hard to finish your degree in the usual time (ie: 3-4 yrs normally), you are focused: “Got to finish my studies as soon as possible” Stop for a sec… WHY? You want to rush through your degree so you can work full-time for 44 or 45 odd years? I suggest that when you reach the end of your life, you are lying on your deathbed in your 80’s (or whatever), you will not say: “I just wish I had spent more time at the office…” “I just wish I had of done more overtime…” I don’t think so…

What will concern you then is much more likely this: “Did I love my family?” “What will God say to me about how I spent my life?” Will He say – “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Mt 25:21) Please, look at your Uni Life as great opportunity for you to develop in your relationship to God and as a person. Don’t see being a student as just a means to an end or “marking time” that is to be done.

You will have opportunities at Uni that you won’t have all the rest of your life. Consider these opportunities to grow with God and as a person by spending more time as a student involved with Power to Change:

  • Retreats
  • Connexions Conference
  • MYC
  • Summer Projects
  • Building God’s Kingdom on campus:
  • Growing in my relationship with God
  • Growing in my trust with God
  • Reaching out to other uni students, friends & people you just met
  • Learning how to share your faith in a natural way
  • Learning how to share your testimony
  • Leading Christianity Explained
  • Doing Questionnaires
  • Participating in a Group Outreach
  • Prayer & facilitating prayer
  • Coordinating or facilitating a group or meeting
  • Discipleship – being discipled and discipling others
    Time management

All of this builds great life skills like how to: initiate well with people, how to speak to a group, and coordinating or facilitating stuff (ie: leadership type skills). These skills you will often use in the workforce as well. An added bonus to the time you spend at Uni are the life-long friendships you make. You get to rub shoulders with some really godly people, Develop great life-skills, Learn heaps about God and yourself, Build God’s Kingdom, And you never know, you might even find a fantastic marriage partner…

Find the Gold: Get the most out of your studies

A standard uni subject is about 2 hours of lectures for 14 weeks. That’s 28 hours of lectures, culminating in an exam that goes for only a couple of hours. So obviously, you’re not going to be tested on everything you’ve been lectured on, just a few hours worth of gold. In this article, you’ll find out how to maximise the important information so you can zero in on the examinable information. Then you’ll have time for other things like campus ministry and fun!

Breakdown of the Examinable

  • 20% of all the info in a subject is really important stuff to know. It makes up 80-85% of an exam
  • 15% is good to know, but not vital. Makes up 10% of an exam
  • 65% you don’t need to hear it; with 2 clicks you could google it if you ever actually needed to know this stuff in the course of your career.

This gives rise to the 80-20 rule: 80% of the marks in the final exam come from 20% of the subject. This means that if you study all the material in a subject, 80% of your marks will come from 20% of the course content. So if you discover what that golden 20% is and focus your studies there, you will have 80% of the exam covered!
It’s about unearthing the key principles covered in the subject and learning how to apply them. That’s a skill you will need in the workforce. While some subjects do require some rote-learning (eg. biology or law), you can still narrow down the areas you need to learn well using the 80-20 rule.

Here are some important steps to help you find the 80-20 balance in your studies

  • Attend every lecture and tutorial and sit in the front 3 rows – sounds basic, but studies have shown that the greatest correlation between what you do and good marks is to attend class and sit up the front. You might think you can just read the textbook or borrow a friend’s notes or Google the topic later, but you will miss all the verbal cues from the lecturer about what’s important. You have to be there in person to hear that golden 20%.
  • Sitting up the front means your lecturer is more likely to recognise you, remember you and be a good resource for you in the future.
  • Listen aggressively and mark your notes whenever the lecturer says magic words like, “this is really important” or “this will be on the exam.”
  • Past exam papers – these are a veritable mine of golden information. Grab the past 5 years’ worth and compare them. Take note of the recurring themes and questions. Ask the lecturer if this year’s exams will be similar to previous years. The sooner you get hold of past exams the better. Get familiar with them at the start of the term, not just in stuvac/swat week. That way, you can pay close attention to those topics when the lecturer gets round to covering them. If they don’t give them out routinely, it may be because the exam is exactly the same each year, but you can still ask for assistance in determining where to focus your study.
  • Subject or Unit Synopsis is usually handed out at the start of each subject and contains a summary of the course objectives and what you should know by the end of the unit, plus the assignment load.
  • Subject or Unit Synopsis 2 – this is like a legal document and tells you the requirements for each unit. It’s legal in the sense that the lecturer is bound to teach what’s on it, and examines accordingly.
  • Ask the lecturer for extra info. Usually, lecturers are thrilled to talk to students who show an interest in their subject (good lecturers actually want their students to pass).
  • Be proactive, don’t give up If the lecturer is being unhelpful, keep asking questions. Ask them politely, but keep at it, like the persistent widow in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:1-4). If that lecturer can’t/won’t help you, go to a higher authority.

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