Start the semester strong: 10 tips from La Trobe’s PLAs

Semester 1 is here! We asked our PLAs to share their top ten, tried-and-tested tips to start the uni year off right.

1: See a Peer Learning Advisor (PLA). PLAs are available starting Week 1. Drop-in and visit a PLA for a chat about time management or some insider knowledge about navigating the start of Semester.

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2: Check out Achieve@Uni! You’ll find great tips and advice for planning, writing and completing your assessments. Plus, there are great resources for managing your time, taking notes and getting 1-on-1 support.

3: Book your spot in an academic skills workshop. Attend a live presentation from expert staff with plenty of time to ask your burning questions – it’s a win-win! PLAs are also available at most workshops to provide that all-important student perspective. Learn about different assessment tasks, the how-to of referencing, Library search skills and more.

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4: Create a clear schedule for your semester. Use Allocate+ to make a timetable of your class times. Download the Subject Learning Guide (SLG) for each subject and mark out assignment due dates. Set times for study, work, exercise and socialising in your week.

5: Use the ‘Lost on Campus’ app to find your way around. You’ll always know where to find your classes, as well as the best coffee on campus!

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6: Make sure your stationery and notebook supplies are topped up and ready to go. If you take notes digitally, ensure that you’ve created new folders and sub-folders for all your subjects ahead of time.

7: Engage with the LMS forums. (Hint: To avoid being spammed by email notifications every time someone makes a post, click on your name in the top right of the LMS homepage, click on preferences, then click on Forum preferences, and set your email digest type to ‘complete’.)

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8: Get your Week 1 reading done ahead of time. Most LMS pages have something to read before semester starts, whether it’s the first topic’s readings or an introductory document. You’ll feel much more confident jumping into class if you are already familiar with the week’s material.

9: Now is the time to fix your sleep schedule. Make sure to spend at least half an hour before bed without your phone. It’s challenging, but nothing helps you study better than a good night’s sleep.

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10: Make your schedule work for you. Most standard lectures are online now, so a schedule that seems dense and restrictive can actually become quite flexible and forgiving through the power of online recordings. Do your best to attend lectures live, but if you need to prioritise your health and take a break for an hour, the lecture will be waiting for you when you’re ready.

Written by PLAs Tenzin Fox and Shannon Robinson-Hore in collaboration with Library staff.