A lazy person's uni tips (Bonus - Reading tracker template)
Updated: Jun 15, 2022
I mentioned in earlier posts of "A lazy person's uni tips" the importance of keeping organized and staying on top of readings and screenshot an example of one of my reading trackers.
I realized a template would be more useful than a screenshot, especially if people aren't familiar with using Excel yet. So, I give you, (free of charge lol) with the hope it can help, an Excel Reading tracker template. In the Excel template, I have one sheet from one of my actual required readings as an example/guide and another blank simplified sheet that you could use and modify as you see fit
For all my courses, we had two lists of readings. One was a required reading list of specific chapters from the assigned textbooks and other journal articles. The second was a separate list of recommended readings relevant to the topic. I only ever did the required readings and used the recommended reading list for assignment and research purposes only. If you can or want to do both the required and recommended reading lists in your courses, applause, good for you! But don't stress yourself too much. As long as you do the required readings, you should be ok.
If you look at my example sheet (screenshot below), there is a difference in the quantity of the readings across weeks. Some weeks, there will be about 6-8 required readings while some weeks will have 2-4 required readings. Don't get discouraged at the quantity of the readings, as more readings mean that this is usually a good indicator that this topic will come up on the exam.
Also in my example sheet, I have a column labeled "Notes". These are the notes I collated based on what I learnt from the required readings with my lecture notes. I'd save my notes in a word doc in a different folder and embed them into Excel or use a hyperlink, along with the lecture slides. In doing so, everything is in one place on the Excel sheet and it shows up in one easy click. (P.S: The hyperlinks won't open in the Excel template because all the files are saved somewhere else and not online. I left it there just as an example.)
You can learn how to do that in the links here, or find an easy instruction video on YouTube:
As I said before, this organization system is what worked for me, but that doesn't mean you have to follow everything to the mark exactly, nor can I guarantee that it would work for you if you do. I also need you to know that I wasn't this organized in my undergrad and I stressed myself out more than I should have. Everything is a learning experience through trial and error, and you can design your own organization system that will work best for you because you know you best!
Going to Uni should be a wonderful learning experience, and it doesn't have to be stressful or daunting all the time. Uni can be difficult, yes, but difficult does not mean impossible. Like I mentioned in earlier blogs, help is available at uni to ensure your success and you only need to know where and how to seek it. On that note, one reader kindly messaged me to add another tip, which is to Attend orientation if you can, because this is the first step of making the difficult possible, and the first step of knowing where everything is at uni. Very valid point!
Anyway, these uni tips are things I've picked up along the way from my messy undergrad experience and from work, and incorporating them together helped me successfully navigate my Master's degree journey. Hope it helps and wishing you all the best in your academic journey! As always, if you have some useful uni tips yourself, feel free to share them in the comments!
Tu'a 'ofa atu!