Right, you’re 5 projects deep, you have an essay due in 5 days; work wants you for an extra 3 shifts this week and you’re 3 Whatsapp group chat notifications away from a nervous breakdown. Sound familiar? Of course it does, because this is an incredibly common situation for a large amount of students.
Finding a balance between work, university and a social life can be difficult at the best of times; but it doesn’t have to be. The main issue I find affects a lot of students is the inability to say ‘no’. I know its hard worrying about missing out on anything, especially when you’re around a new group of people that you have to spend the next 3+ years of your life with, but trust me on this one, none of it is worth risking your mental or physical health. It got to the point a few months ago where I was working 3 jobs, had a hand in, my dissertation deadline, going to training 3 times a week and was seeing friends until silly o ‘clock every night. Totally unhealthy right? So my best advice to anyone struggling to find a balance is as follows.
- Plan your schedule; your calendar is your friend. I cannot stress this enough. Once you figure out what you’ve got going on and when, managing your time will be so much easier.
- Figure out what’s imperative and what’s not. Do you need to hand in that essay that’s 25% of your degree? Probably. Do you need to go to that birthday party for that girl you see in the corridor and you both give one of those really British tight lipped smiles to? Probably not. Let go of any guilt hanging over you for saying no, it’s not a big deal.
- Get your priorities in order. At the end of the day, you’re paying £9000+ a year to be here, your degree really should be the most important thing, don’t always take the extra shifts if you don’t think you can handle it. If money is becoming an issue, UCA’s gateway desk offers fantastic financial advice (like lay off the Waitrose organic quails eggs) and even grants to students who are in genuine financial trouble.
- Plan time for yourself. Seriously, even the biggest of extroverts need time in their PJs with a hot chocolate. A nights dedicated rest can do wonders for your productivity.
- Give yourself a pat on the back. It’s so difficult making the transition from home life to university life. Independence is harder than is seems. You’re becoming like a proper adult, treat yourself to a cheeky takeaway or have a movie night with friends. You’ve been working hard so treat yourself. It’ll make the hard work that little bit sweeter.
With all that in mind, everyone manages their time differently, so find a system that works for you. If your ever struggling, think back to these tips and see what part of your life is tipping the balance.