Marine Technology student, Verity Thomas, tells us about her experiences so far studying at Newcastle University and balancing her workload with her extra-curricular activities.
I am currently a stage 2 student studying Marine Technology with Naval Architecture. The work life balance on the course is definitely manageable. Stage 2 is quite different to Stage 1, in which we had a 9am start every day. In fact, being in Stage 2 can lead to much better study habits. You will no longer live on campus so popping home during every gap in your timetable is not an option, meaning that you’re more likely to go to the library or one of the many study areas on campus. The quantity of work in Stage 2 is the same as Stage 1 and although comparatively harder it is as equally challenging as Stage 1 because you know more about the subject.
To ‘switch off’ I watch a lot of Netflix and take walks in Exhibition Park with my friends. There is a lot to do in Newcastle and surrounding areas so occasionally I will go to Tynemouth or South Shields. There is so much to get involved in and I recommend people looking at the Student Union’s ‘Give it A Go’ service, where you can try anything from surfing to making baths bombs at Lush…whatever you find relaxing.
I have many hobbies and am part of eight societies Newcastle University and one club this year. That includes: 20-minute, Archery, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, GigSoc, NerdSoc, RAG, Vegan & Vegetarian, and WetSoc. As well as this, this year, I have taken part in Fresher’s Crew, written for the Tab, and am working towards my NCL+ Careers award. I have three part time jobs, which include being a Student Ambassador, Private Tutoring, and being part of the Universities Northumbrian Naval Unit.
It is important to manage your time whilst still having fun. You need to remember why you are at university and you’re ultimately here to get a good degree, and that if you work hard now life will be easier later. It is easy to forget your priorities when there are many other reasons why you are here too. Sometimes, you’ll get behind on work because you are doing those activities, because you get sick, because you have interviews and assessment centres to go to. Once this happens, try to catch up as best as you can. If you feel like you can’t and don’t have the time to watch RECAP or see your lecturers then draw a baseline and allow yourself to focus on the new information that you are learning and realise that this often doesn’t require the old knowledge that you missed. Talk to your tutor about the situation, as they will put it into perspective, especially as so many people go through the same thing. Try to talk to people about how you feel because it is comforting to find out that you’re not the only one! And try to remember that there is still time even if it feels like it is running out before exams.
To stay disciplined whilst still having fun I recommend treating university as a full time job. If your lectures don’t start until midday then go in at 9am and do some revision for them. If your lectures finish by 3pm then go to the library until 5pm. Study in a group and then it’ll be more fun and social. Take a packed lunch and snacks and then you’ll be more inclined to work rather than having to go home or into town because you’re hungry, plus it’s cheaper! Whilst at university only dedicate your time to university stuff i.e. not replying to general emails or applying to jobs because then you’ll always be doing other chores and not your actual studying/coursework. Take your evenings and weekends to relax doing nothing in regards to university work and catch up on non-university chores such as washing and food shopping.
Find out more about our Marine Technology courses here.