As a new college term starts, students across Wales will be thinking about all the things that lie ahead – exams, assignments, work experience, and decisions about their futures.
19-year-old Parys Tobenas is a former student at St David’s College. She gives her insight into what she wishes she would have done differently during her time in college, so you can use her advice to make the most of your time there.
Look at the 7 advice tips
1. Don’t let things get on top of you. Get on top of them. Prioritise.
I wished I had managed my time more effectively and not left things, often, until last minute. If I had just broken down my assignments into a table or something, noting when a piece of work was set and what date it was to be done by, then I could have planned my time better and not left important parts of my course work to be to be done last minute.”
2. Choose a relevant work placement.
I should have chosen a work placement more relevant to my future career in nursing. If I could re-do my time I wouldn’t have just chosen any work experience for the sake of it being ‘work experience’. You need to make sure you’re going to benefit from it in some way. Read about the company online; make sure you actually have an interest in what they’re all about. Ask yourself if you could you see yourself working there in the future and what skills it could give you?"
3. Revise throughout the year.
I wished I’d started to revise a lot sooner and not just when exam time was creeping up. I would advise any new students going to college next year to definitely make revision notes throughout the year. This would have certainly relieved me of some pressure when exam time arrived and you would retain the information a lot better if your revision was constant and over a longer period of time as opposed to over two weeks when some of the stuff you’re reading you haven’t looked at for six months!”
4. Don’t skip class or not do the homework!
I thought I didn’t have to go to some classes. I thought some homework was pointless. Boy I was wrong. When I found out that the lessons I missed and thought I could do without involved some really useful coursework information I really regretted not going. And looking back, the homework would have helped me to prepare better for exams! You have to think; your classes and homework are there for a reason!"
5. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself!
I learnt that putting pressure on myself around exam time wasn’t wise at all. I may have achieved good grades in the end but the pressure I’d put on myself really affected my mood and wellbeing which just led to unnecessary stress.” Take a look at some top tips on how to cope with stress."
Take a look at some top tips on how to cope with stress on successatschool.org.
6. Ask for help.
I was really determined to do well but I never really asked for help when I needed it. I’d try and get by on my own and sometimes struggled with things as I wouldn’t want to go to anyone for advice or simply to check something. Help is there. Just ask your parents, a teacher, a friend, or even get in touch with a careers adviser.”
7. Find the right environment. Where you study, surprisingly, matters.
Whether it’s sitting at your dining room table or making a trip to the library, make sure you find a study place that works for you, and stick to it. I found that it really helped me if I always revised and did course work in the same place. I then started to associate that environment with ‘revision time’ or ‘coursework time’ and I think it was then that I worked more effectively.”