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Advice from a Former Student

Hello hello. For many people last week was the start of the semester. Whether this is your first year or last year good luck! I decided to take a break this year, a decision I sometimes question when I'm failing at finding a job which somewhat relates to the two degrees I have which took four years. That aside I thought I might impart some wisdom from my four years some of which might or might not be helpful, do with it as you wish. 

The first couple of weeks is kind of like a honeymoon period, at my uni this was the period where you could still swap courses. I've done it once in my first year; I swapped a physics paper (what was I thinking) with a Geography one and Italian with Classics. During this period I like to map out the semester, put in the due dates in your diary or calendar and start looking at assignments and essay questions. For me deciding on a topic was the hardest thing so I needed a lot of time.
I know everyone gets told this but the earlier you start your essay the better. For me I liked gathering all of the information and source material before I started writing. The earlier you start the less likely the book you really need is on loan. I always felt weird requesting books (until I got stressed and really needed particular books) and getting them out so I opted for photocopying and later on just taking pictures. You get the information without the stress of possibly getting the book recalled. Also remember there are other sources than books. Journal articles are great especially since you can easily download them.
I on many occasion am guilty of leaving my essay to the last minute which doesn't bode well for my grades as well as my sanity. Always make sure you've got time to take a short break from it and then come back, you end up recognising that your sentences don't make sense and you just repeat points.
I also have this nice little tip for those you are doing Art History and struggle with remembering dates. Look for the numbers in the painting. So if the painting was done in 1546 look for four trees or six figures. It's much easier if you already have a feeling what century it is but you could do it for the entire year so when you see the painting they'll jump out at you.
That's about all I can think of, if you have any advice feel free to share.
Ashley xx

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