University timetable sparse? Make the most of your ‘me time’

University timetable sparse? Make the most of your ‘me time’

If your lectures are few and far between, you could work, exercise, or learn more stuff.

Tired female student is trying to read book
There’s plenty of productive ways to spend your time between lectures. Photograph: Alamy

A lot changes when you get to university. One of the biggest surprises for me was how few hours I was required to spend in lectures and seminars. Many of us go from fully packed days at sixth form or college, to sporadic two-hour lectures at university.

While advice for adapting to the university lifestyle often focuses on social aspects, adapting to the academic structure can take time too.

At first it might be great to have so much free time on your hands, but without a set routine it can be difficult to fill your days with beneficial stimulus. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of becoming a motionless blob that lives and breathes Netflix.

So, if you are a member of the “barely there” club, here’s some productive ways to fill the hours spent away from lectures.

Actually study

You spent a small fortune on those books for a reason. Grab your highlighters and begin making notes on relevant topics. If you struggle to study at your house or flat, pack up everything and head to the library for the day: you’ll be less distracted and will have thousands of extra books on hand to help you out.

Get a job

Even if you are fortunate enough to not need the extra income to get by, a part-time job can be a great way to add structure to your week, meet new people and gain employment experience.

Learn a language

It’s unlikely that in your working life you will have time to dedicate an hour every day to learning a new language, so why not try now? There are some great language apps out there for on-the-go learning, so it doesn’t have to be expensive.

Ask flatmates or friends if they speak any other languages or if they fancy joining you as you learn: speaking to someone else in a different language is a vital part of the learning process.

Work out

Why not look up the health benefits of healthy foods and take up an exercise class, or start your mornings with a run? You could also walk to classes instead of taking the bus, or prepare food for tomorrow’s lunch rather than buying something greasy on campus.

Become Lord Sugar

You may not have the financial stability to invest in a large business idea, but if you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at designing t-shirts, making jewellery or selling your services as a photographer, now is the time to do it.

With the option to study at any time of day, flexible working hours mean setting up a small business can be an easy way to add to your CV and your bank balance.

Find a cause

University is a great time to explore politics, so whether you’re interested in fighting for gender equality or banning animal testing, find like minded people and turn your beliefs into positive action.

Learn how to cook

It’s a long standing joke that students eat the oddest concoctions out of random ingredients – noodles and ketchup in a mug, anyone? But since you’re likely to be cooking for yourself every day, why not browse through some online recipes and whip up something a little different? Try some new meat, new vegetables or simply a new method of cooking. You don’t want toast again tonight, surely?

Have bitesize study breaks

I’m all for browsing the internet. However, with it being like a black hole filled with cat memes, it is likely to suck you in and distract you from work. If you do fancy having a break, try a Youtube video or two rather than a three hour Netflix marathon. TED provide great educational talks that are both informative and entertaining.

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