Competing for Resources on a Degree Course

This sounds completely mercenary and to a point it is, but when attending University you may have to compete for available resources, for example:

There are rarely enough hard copies of books for every student in the library (though with the move to electronic books this is becoming less of an issue).

Lecturers have a limited amount of time available to spend with students, this will never change and getting time with your lecturer to discuss your work, improve your understanding in invaluable.

Specialist equipment may be in limited supply

With this in mind students need to make sure that they are not left behind due to any of the above constraints.

Try and reserve books from your reading list online. Try and get hold of the reading list ahead of the course starting. Consider buying second hand books on E-bay or Amazon if you would like your own copy, they can often be bought very cheaply.

Book as much time with lecturers and tutors as possible. Time with these people is the most valuable resource on your course, you can learn a vast amount in these sessions, not so much in terms of information absorbed, but in terms of ideas for further study / direction. Lecturers are a good sounding board for testing your ideas, whether something works or not, whether an idea you have is worth pursuing.

If technical equipment is in limited supply, make sure you get to practical sessions early. If necessary ask if you can use laboratories at different times when there are no classes.

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University is competitive, it is not a rat race, but neither are all things equal.

  • Some students make better uses of resources than others
  • Some students get more time and information from lecturers than others
  • Some students always get the reading list from the library, whilst others often find all the copies gone and don’t bother to reserve them

Make sure you do not get pushed aside in any of these key areas.