University is meant to be one of the most exciting times of your life. I would say it certainly was an experience I would never forget. But there were elements to the university life that I didn’t get along with. I struggled to ‘juggle it all’. Looking back, I wish I had taken things into consideration better. I’m now, sigh, older and a bit wiser. So, how can you balance life at university?
Is money tight? Do you feel you need a little extra income? Perhaps a job is going to help boost your university experience. It is important, however, to pick the right kind of job for university. Don’t get a job where you will be working all hours of the day and week. Most university towns have jobs that are perfect for students. This could be from working as a local barista at a coffee shop, becoming bar staff or even getting a job at your university. Enquire about what jobs your university has to offer.
I worked at my local cinema as most of the shifts were evening, but didn’t finish too late so I was still able to go out on the town with friends or go to bed at a reasonable time if I had an early lecture. I ended up working too much. I’ll be honest. I loved my job, but I forgot the boundaries and why I was there in the first place. My studies suffered because I was working too much.
I would be clear from the offset to your employer, that university comes first. So, if you’ve got exams or a deadline looming for an assignment, these naturally should take priority. Don’t take on overtime if it means draining you or being unable to complete university-related work.
University is the ultimate peak of your social life. Nothing will quite be the same after and it will never be as easy to be social as it is at university. That is the thing I miss the most, being able to waltz down the hallway to one of my best friends room and just sit on their bed talking for hours until the early hours of the morning.
Just make sure to balance this well with the rest of your life. Make sure to schedule a time for yourself, your university and work as much as you socialise.
If you’re struggling to get social at university, I would consider joining a club or society. This way you can channel productivity alongside social activities. You are also connecting with like-minded people in these clubs.
In order to keep a balanced life at university, you need to ensure that you’re not working yourself into the ground too much. Yes your studies are important and they’re the number one reason you’re at university, but if you are constantly studying and working on essays, you will work yourself into the ground and eventually reach a burnout.
Put down deadlines into a planner. Even if these are little seminar deadlines each week and alongside these deadlines write how long approximately you think it will take to achieve. Work backwards in your planner and write down when you need to start. Leave a gap of time after where you can step away from the work for a little while before doing one final proofread and edit. Or if it’s an exam, write down healthy study goals.
Finally, I would suggest making a time table. A time table that is unique to you, will help to create a balanced life at university. Block out social time, time for you, work and study time. It can be flexible. In fact, please don’t adhere to it too strictly, if a friend calls up and wants to go to the cinema or pub and your deadline isn’t imminent then go- you only live once. But next time you have a social block, lessen it and do what you were meant to.
Things can be switched about. But by making a loose timetable, you can at least see how much time you should roughly be spending on each part of your life. It’s all about a positive calm balance.
I hope this has helped inspire you to keep a balanced life at university. If you ever to feel overwhelmed, reach out to someone and see if they can help.
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