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5 tips to make the most of the start of the academic year

Date:07 September 2022
The academic year has begun!
The academic year has begun!

The academic year has begun! Are you ready? Whether you are a new UG student or have been studying here in Groningen for some years, the first week of a new year of studies is exciting but can also be challenging. Lots of information is coming your way, you are meeting lovely new lecturers and other (new) students, and your coursework is increasing. I’m here to give you five tips on how to make the most of the start of the academic year, which will hopefully set you up for success!

1: Get organised

The most important thing you can do is getting organised. You can go explore our new learning environment Brightspace, go through all your course syllabuses and write down all deadlines in your planner so you won’t miss them and know what to expect. This week is great for organising your online workspace as well, because a clean workspace = a clear mind! You can do this by creating folders on your laptop for all your courses so you know where to find your documents during the year and by deleting old documents that are not useful anymore. Moreover, as some classrooms and lecture halls are hard to find, it is handy to know where you can find them so that you are on time for your first classes!

2: Stay on top of your work

Part of being organised is also knowing what coursework you have to do this week and the following weeks. You probably only have introduction classes this week, so there isn’t much to do - unless you are a member of a student sports club, want to invest time into making many new friends, or have to find a part-time job, for instance - but starting on your work right now will hopefully help you stay on top of your work for the rest of the block. This is what helps me get through the semester without too much stress.

3: Establish a routine

Due to the lower workload, this week is perfect to establish a sustainable routine as well! That way you set yourself up for success during the rest of the year and you can already get some work done for next week.

A routine that works for me, especially when I am really busy, is starting the day at 9 or 10am to study until 1pm. Then, I take a break for an hour to reset, in which I go for a walk around the canals, or read a book. I’m currently reading ‘Before the Coffee Gets Cold’ by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, which is amazing! After my break, I study until 6pm at the latest depending on the amount of work I need to do that day. The rest of the evening I use to relax, or to do fun activities like going to the cinema.

For me, this is sustainable as I also take little breaks during studying, but it might not be for you. That is why it’s handy to find out what routine works for you!

4: Do fun activities

There is plenty of time this week to do fun activities to maintain that healthy work-life balance! If you are new to the city, lots of study associations have activities planned for you to join. For instance, this week, the USVA, which is the cultural student centre, offers several lessons for free so you can try them out to see what you like. This is a fun way to meet new people! You can also schedule a meet-up with students you have met during your first classes to get to know them better. Personally, I love to meet up with friends for dinner or drinks, to exercise, or to take time for my hobbies.

Other activities you can do this week are visiting Forum Groningen to see the view from their rooftop, or going to Groningen Museum Night which takes place on Saturday 10 September 2022 from 7pm to 1am. As you can see, there’s lots for you to do!

5: Rest!

Last but certainly not least, it’s important to get some rest this week before your coursework increases and you are busy studying. Read a book, watch a show, take a nap, or go to bed early. Rest is vital for your productivity so it is a good idea to include plenty of it in your routine. Go get some sleep!

Hopefully your first few days at the university have been going smoothly. Feeling overwhelmed is completely normal right now, but know that you are getting through this. You will definitely have an awesome time here in Groningen!

With these tips I hope you can make the most of the start of the academic year. If you have other tips for fellow students that you’d like to share, feel free to share them in the comments! Good luck!

About the author


Hiya! I’m Hylke, a Dutch MA English Literature student. People often ask me if I’m Frisian, but sadly I’m not; I just have a Frisian name. I love reading, writing, meeting with friends, and the colour yellow, so much so that I take pictures of every yellow wall I can find!


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