Blog post

Finding success at Derby

By Olivia Wilkinson - 31 August 2022

As a student who struggles with assignment-related stress, I want to share my top tips for success at university that have worked for me. I also spoke to other Derby students and included some of their advice too.

Time management

Time management is so important; it helps you organise and manage your everyday responsibilities and reduce stress. It’s best to find what works and is right for you and plan study/ revision time into your routine. There are so many apps such as diaries or digital calendars that can help with this. Choose what’s most suitable and stick to this to get into a good routine.

I use a diary and schedule in my assignment hand-in dates as soon as they’re released, this helps you plan ahead and ensure you keep on track of your work. I also like to colour code my diary as I process things best visually. This helps separate my university timetable, assignments, work, meetings and personal plans. It’s not just important to plan and manage your studies, but to schedule "you" time to relax and allow time for personal activities.


Education can be hard to manage, we all have commitments and additional responsibilities. It’s important to schedule time for yourself and your own hobbies to have fun and reduce your stress levels! Exercise can help whether it be walking, sporting activities or the gym and can positively affect your mood and improve sleep and self-esteem.

Why not schedule self-care every evening after a busy day studying or working? Don’t forget to reach out to your support networks, whether that be friends, other students, colleagues or family to help manage your stress. If you’re struggling to find an activity to do, you could join a Union society or sports club.


A friend studying the Business Management BA (Hons) course shared her top tips for referencing with me. She said “referencing can impact and alter your grade…it’s so important you understand how to do it correctly… once you know how it’s second-nature!”.

There are several different referencing styles so make sure you know which style you need to use for your course. Different courses and lecturers may have different requirements, so if in doubt make sure you check with your lecturer. For my course, I’m required to do Harvard referencing. Using a referencing tool can be really helpful, though it’s important you find what works best for you. I took my time and experimented with different tools and found using Microsoft Word the easiest for me.

She also talked about the importance of using Library Plus to access a good range of sources to use for research in your assignments. You can take advantage of the library resources by accessing the Skills Guide on this site. Within the support section is a diverse range of resources that includes videos, audio and interactive tutorials to help you learn.

Explore library skill guides

Use your lecturers for support

Another student studying the Marketing BA (Hons) course said that his top tip was to take advantage of the support provided by your lecturer/ seminar tutor. He said “I always ask assignment-related questions and show drafts of my work to my tutor. This helps guide me and ensure I'm on track".

Your lecturers and seminar tutors are there to help you with your assignments and any subject-related questions. Make sure you take advantage of their expertise and reduce your stress by asking questions whether they be small or large!

Career help

Engage with the Careers and Employment Service who are available through, online via live chat or with an appointment. They can help with a variety of activities linked to your success including:

… and so much more!

Success at Derby

I am proud to study at Derby, with so many successful students, both present and past, who have studied across a variety of courses from diverse backgrounds. Previous students (alumni) have joined global companies, appeared on Dragon’s Den and even set up their own businesses!

You can read some of our Derby alumni accomplishment stories on the website. I like to look at these when I’m struggling to help inspire me for my future.

Celebrate your success

It can be so easy to feel behind whether that be our careers or in comparison to peers. It's important to take a step back and acknowledge our individual achievements and how well we're doing. Whether you’re studying whilst managing caring duties, have another job, are on a committee, have other commitments, or are showing up to better yourself, I am proud and you should be too! If you do find that you're struggling and need support, don't forget that you can always contact the Student Wellbeing team by phone: 01332 59300 or email:

About the author

Olivia Wilkinson at graduation

Olivia Wilkinson
Graduate Marketing and Communications Associate

Recent graduate with a first-class degree in Marketing (PR and Advertising). Former ladies' football team player, Communications Ambassador, Social Media Assistant and DRIVEN intern. Now working as a Graduate Marketing and Communications Associate at the university.