Finding the Right Balance at Uni
By Emma Tattum, Egwyl Editor
Balancing a job, university, saving money, having a social life, getting the best grades you can and gaining work experience is tough.
A National Student Money Survey, by SaveTheStudent, said this year revealed that three quarters of students in the UK are working a part-time job to supplement their student loan, and 27% said not having enough money to make ends meet was negatively impacting their grades at uni.
It can be really difficult and time-consuming to find that perfect balance so, I’ve put together of list of useful hints and tips to make it easier for you.
Firstly, take the time to find the right balance for YOU. What works for someone else might not work for you. I’m about to go into my final year and it took me at least 12 months to create a schedule for myself that worked.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up from the first two years at uni:
Stick to a schedule
Try and stick to your scheduled study times. This might not work for everyone, but it did for me. I made a weekly schedule (see below) that fits within my uni timetable and job. This way, I dedicated time to work on my assignments, so that when deadlines approached, I didn’t use the ‘I’ll do it next week’ excuse and managed to get everything in on time.
Monday – Uni 9-3, Study 3:30 – 5:30
Tuesday – Uni 9-3, Study 3:30 – 5:30
Wednesday – OFF
Thursday – Uni 9-1
Friday – Work 9-3
Saturday – Work 9-6
Sunday – OFF
Make time for YOU and look after yourself
Uni is stressful, so when you pair that with a job, it can be hard. One of the most important things you need to remember is to have time off. Don’t over-work yourself because that in itself creates problems. In my first year, I wanted to do as much as I could, so I said yes to everything, but I also wanted to earn as much money as I could so I took extra shifts at work. I went for weeks without a day off and it took its toll. It started to have an effect on my grades and health.
Making time for friends, family and studies is important, but you should also make sure you still have time to look after yourself. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle/diet and getting enough sleep each night all helps to alleviate your stress during those busy deadline periods.
Set yourself personal goals
This is the perfect way to motivate yourself moving forwards. Improve your grade, make more time to study, hand work in on time are some examples of targets you can set yourself and keep you on track. I like to create a list of targets and tick them off as I go. Speak to academic advisors on campus, your lecturers or fellow students for guidance if you need help.
If you’re struggling – speak up!
Taking on too much will eventually lead to everything getting on top of you.
Juggling a job when your studying for a degree isn’t easy, but you’re lecturers and employers will understand that.
A soon as you notice any problems with your timetable or your hours at work feel too much, speak to someone and try to come up with an alternative plan before it’s too late.
During my first year, I found it beneficial to seek advice from the years above. They’ve been there and done that!
University is an experience like no other and once you’ve found the balance that works for you, you’ll enjoy every aspect to its fullest. Balancing a job, a degree and a social life is hard, but these will be the best few years of your life, so don’t give up on finding your happy medium!