Depending on what you study, you might experience that the number of hours spent in class are a lot less than what you are used to. This means that you are expected to spend a large amount of your time reading and preparing for classes.
As a student in Denmark, the line between school and private life can seem a little blurry. You have a lot of freedom, but you are also responsible for your own academic learning. Many students have few class hours, and many courses don’t have mandatory attendance. If you fall behind in a class you might not face any consequences before the exam comes around at the end of the course and you could risk failing.
Danish society puts a high emphasize on a healthy work/life balance. Professors don’t expect students to devote their every waking hour to studying, but rather see that students also spend time developing hobbies, social relations, staying healthy and involve in organizations and thereby becoming well-rounded scholars, who can also relate the theories they learn to the world around them.
That being said, professors expect you to be serious about your studies, to be well-prepared, and to actively participate in classes.
Structuring Your Days
For many students, Danish as well as international, structuring your day and week is one of the biggest challenges about being a university student. There are many techniques and systems you can make use of, but the most important thing is that you find out what works for you.
One of the biggest issues reported by students is that they always feel like they should be studying when they are doing more fun things. To avoid this trap of constant guilt it might be helpful to think of your study as a full-time job.
Plan specific times of the day where you are “at work” to do study assignments and when that time is up you can relax and enjoy your leisure time without feeling guilty.
It can be useful to draw up a calendar of your week, putting in lectures, work, leisure activities, social commitments and when you plan to study. This way you can make sure you keep up with your studies while also setting aside time for other activities.
Here are some things you might want to consider when thinking about how to structure your days:
- Do you prefer a tight weekly schedule or a more flexible plan? Find out what works best for you by trying out a system for a few weeks and then adjust.
- What is the best way to structure you daily life so that you have an overview of both the whole semester and any given week? And how will you plan your exam periods?
- Be more detailed in planning times of peak work load.
- Are to-do lists a good tool for you? You can prioritize tasks by making a list of all the jobs taking up space in your brain. You can separate the list into categories of urgent, what needs to be done the coming week and what needs to be done, but has no set deadline. Some people benefit greatly from keeping a to-do list, while it becomes a source of stress to others. Find out what works best for you.
- How can you set realistic goals and be realistic about your time? Remember to also plan for breaks and put a buffer so you also have time to deal with unexpected issues.
- Match your expectations accordingly – it is advisable, for instance, when studying for exams to start the day with an outline of what you want to get done and finish the day of reflecting on what you got done.
- To remove distractions when you are studying for exams – there are ways to enhance your concentration and efficiency, and to minimize the temptation to procrastinate. Turn off you phone or put it on silent, turn off the tv and music, log out of social media. There are limits to how much the brain can comprehend at once – especially when we need to acquire knowledge or concentrate deeply.
If you need to talk to someone about how to best structure your daily studies, contact your local student guidance counselor. Some universities also offer courses or resources about study techniques that can make your time spent studying more effective.