Getting the balance right in uni
By: Rachael, redwigwam
It can be hard sometimes to keep on track with workloads whilst working AND still making time for a social life.
Now I am a self-confessed procrastinator and I know that many people who juggle hectic lifestyles probably will be too, but there is a solution. Rather than binge-watching Netflix as soon as you get home, set aside an hour or two to get a chunk of that essay written up.
Speaking from experience, once you’re home and you’ve sat on the sofa with a cup of tea to relax, it’s pretty difficult to muster up the motivation to start on an essay. So skip the hard part; drink your brew as you’re working and resist the temptation of becoming a couch potato for a couple of hours. This may sound like the most un-fun way of spending an evening but I guarantee you will feel guilt-free and have no nasty, niggling ‘I should have done that’ thoughts. Plus, once you get into a routine of doing this, it will become easier.
When it comes to your social life, it’s common to feel like you’ve abandoned your friends, you never see them, or you simply haven’t got the time or energy to catch up or go out with them. However, ‘play’ time or downtime is essential if you’re going to stay positive, and frankly, not go a little crazy. Arrange to go out with friends in advance so you can get what needs to be done beforehand, and this way you can really enjoy your time together without the weight on your shoulders.
As a last resort (if you really are THAT busy) you can combine your study session with socialising by meeting up with friends to study together or by asking friends to help you out with revising/studying etc. It won’t feel so much like hard work if you spend it with friends, and you can help each other out; it’s a win-win situation!
Also, socialising doesn’t mean you have to go out and stay out until stupid o’clock. You can go out for a quick bite to eat and catch up, straight after work if that’s easier, and then be home with plenty of time to do some work and still have some time left to unwind before bed.
When I was in University, I had no choice but to get a part-time job on my days off as my loan didn’t stretch that far. It can sometimes get a little annoying as you don’t have any free days for which to do nothing! If you can afford it, you could lower your weekly hours to give yourself a little more time to actually have a life, but then working gives you that extra experience on your CV when you do finish your course.
Of course, lowering working hours is merely a pipe dream for most people – whether they are working University students, or just full-time workers – so I think the key to finding a work/life balance is to leave your work where it belongs – in work.
I’m not someone who particularly wants to take my work home with me, and (depending on the job) I’d say most people would want to separate their work life from their home life. This is entirely possible if, as previously mentioned, procrastinating (we all do it!) is eliminated from your daily routine. Make sure you get anything of significance or importance sorted ASAP and don’t leave it until last minute, and you won’t spend longer than necessary in the workplace, or worry about it when you get home.
I’m sure that most people have at least one friend that they work with too, so why not arrange to go for an after-work drink or some tea with them, and agree that work talk if off the table.
If you prioritise your list of things to do and actually do them, it should become easy to maintain a balance. Whilst in University, I was in full-day lectures for three days a week, worked a part-time job for another three days, and had Sundays to myself, and I think I managed fairly well when it came to balancing studying, work and play! Granted, I didn’t see my friends as much as I’d have liked to, but that’s something that happens naturally when everyone has a full-time schedule. I also left a good few essays last minute, from which I definitely learned my lesson!
The important thing is to make the time. It is there, it just needs to be managed well!