University is different from sixth form or college in the sense that you’re now in charge of your own routine. How you spend your time is entirely up to you. For some, the change between higher secondary education and university can be tough to attune to at first, but the freedom you get allows you to set your own hours and limits.
I’m a Computer Science student, so my timetable looks quite different from other ones. I was lucky enough to get Fridays off, but I would usually spend the day working through assignments or online material. However, all Bath students get Wednesday afternoons off to take part in sports, which is a great way to relieve some midweek stress.
Monday & Tuesday
At the start of the week, I’d make a week-to-view calendar and fill in any upcoming due dates or events. This is my favourite time management hack, as it helps me plan and keep track of my work at a glance.
I would start every morning by waking up at around 8am and checking my student email, answering them as required. I’d then look through the week’s lectures and online material and assign each module’s work to a different day. For example, I might have completed all my work for Artificial Intelligence on Tuesday night, and then moved onto Mathematics on Wednesday. I’d then shower and get ready for my first lecture of the day at 9:15am.
After my first two lectures, I would have my first meal of the day at 12:30 (you shouldn’t skip breakfast, but I feel nauseous when I eat early!), followed by two more lectures in the afternoon before I finish for the day at 4:15pm. Then I’d go through lecture notes before dinner at 6:30pm, then work on coursework until midnight.
Before bed, I’d usually text my friends and check my socials, before finally sleeping at 1am. I know you shouldn’t use your phone before bed, but if I used it during the day, I’d get too distracted and not focus on work!
I’d only have a 9:15am and an 11:15am lecture on Wednesdays, before getting the afternoon off. Unfortunately, the Sports Training Village on campus was closed for the majority of my first year in the pandemic, so I didn’t really get a chance to do some sports. However, I compensated for this by going on runs with my friends or completing errands like grocery shopping in town.
Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings were my designated social nights. Before dinner in the evenings, I’d catch up with assignments and lecture notes from the past two days. I’d then have my second meal of the day at around 7pm, and then dress up and get ready for the night.
Sometimes my friends and I would go out to town - either for a meal, a drink at Spoons, or a night in a bar (our bank accounts permitting!) Other times I’d go to their flats for some fun and games. I’d often sleep at around 2 or 3am, depending on if I could miss the Q&A session first thing on Thursday morning.
On Thursdays, I’d have 4 lectures like on Monday and Tuesday but with the addition of Q&A support groups and placement sessions. These placement sessions occurred bi-weekly and would include talks from older students, CV writing advice and application tips. I’d strongly recommend attending the more practical sessions if you do a placement. Thursdays were my busiest days in first-year, and I usually finished around 6. I’d have dinner and then spend the rest of the night working.
However, if I felt I was on top of my work, Mixology nights at the SU Plug and Tub were quite tempting, to say the least. 2-4-1 cocktails all night is always an offer that can rarely be refused. Or, if I’m a little bit tired, Lime Tree on campus would always have great pizzas and pints on offer.
I used to love Fridays - having no lectures or sessions to attend meant I could sleep in a bit later and get some rest! I also made Fridays my cleaning day where I would vacuum my room, dust off surfaces, and clean my en-suite (exhausting stuff!) After some lunch, I’d continue going through online material as usual until dinner.
Friday is everyone’s designated night out, no matter what. My friends and I would go out and have fun - much needed after a week full of work! I’d come back to my flat around 4am and have an excuse for a nice Saturday lie-in!
I’d get up later in the morning on Saturdays but head straight to completing coursework. After handing in assignments on Fridays, I’d have time to catch up on any lectures I’d missed or accidentally slept through (it happens to the best of us!) In the evenings, I’d either go to a restaurant in town or end up at a friend’s flat.
Saturdays do tend to be less rigid in terms of a routine; for example, we’d celebrate a friend’s birthday with bottomless brunch in the early afternoon or take a trip to Bristol for some shopping. There were also society events held on campus too. It’s nice to relax and take some time for yourself over the weekend after a week of hard work.
I’d spend my Sundays finalising the week’s lecture notes and working through online material and labs, but I’d make sure to get an early night before restarting the week.
University can be hectic, but that’s what I love about it. I’ve never been busier, but I’ve never had more fun. The key to life is balance, and I think university is ideal for this. If you can balance your workload, social life, and sleep schedule well, then you’ll be able to make the most of the experience.