Practical experiences are a very necessary and exciting part of many university degrees. Unfortunately this is often the busiest time of the semester. For many of us, whilst on prac our uni subjects continue, content continues to be distributed and assignment due dates loom closer. As I prepare for my next practical experience (woo hoo!), I would like to share with you my top three tips for balancing university studies and practical experience.
- Prepare your assessment
Prior to practical experience, prepare to complete as much of your assessment as possible. Get everything you can to a point that you would be happy to submit. Prac is an absolutely wonderful experience, one you want to be able to embrace and not be worried about the assignment due the next day which you haven’t started yet and have three lessons to plan for the following day as well! It is much easier to edit drafted assignments than trying to research, draft and edit an assignment when you are exhausted after spending a week at work.
- Prepare a study plan
Prepare a study schedule to follow during prac. As I found on my first practical experience, completely disregarding all uni work during prac will only come back to bite you later. Prioritise your work. Every little bit that you do during prac is something that you don’t have to worry about later. Write your schedule and stick to it! Everyone has different study patterns and you need to find what works for you.
- Prepare to communicate
Practical experiences are your first glimpse into the big wide world of work that you will be entering into in a few short years. Ensure you contact your practical site as soon as you know where you have been placed to clear up any queries you may have and find out their expectations of you. Once you arrive, be honest and open to your supervisors. They know you are a university student and also have study to complete whilst on prac. They are not mind readers and hence need to be told if you are struggling or have assessment due. They too went to university at some point and know what you are going through! They are there to help you through your practical experience…help them to help you!
Be true to yourself. Your practical experience is a very busy, yet exciting time. With sufficient preparation, you will be able to both stay on top of your university studies and enjoy your precious taste of the workforce! Good luck! J