Balancing University work and social life is no easy feat! It can be really difficult to maintain relationships, attend social events, grapple with the constant stream of assignments and still get the grades you need for a decent degree. Life as a University student is completely different to the life of that worry-free school kid you once were, whilst still living at home with the parents – and the likelihood of remaining focused and organised throughout those first few busy years away from home isn’t really that great… so here are a few tips that will hopefully make that study/life balance slightly easier!
Organising your life should be your number one priority if you want to end up with a first class degree and a healthy social life. I currently have 3 planners on the go – and they are all instrumental in ensuring that I am always on top of things… – Except when I accidentally sleep in and miss a lecture… – I use the small green agenda for planning my blog content and posts, my 2017 diary for social life and holiday planning, and the largest pink planner for organising my University lectures, practicals and seminars. Writing things down also helps me to remember everything and keep myself focused for the coming weeks.
2. Don’t go out if you have a 9am the next morning…
This can be a tough one – especially when there are some really great student nights and club events running throughout the week. However, take it from someone who has found themselves sitting alone in their room at 3am scoffing a McDonalds and being oh-so-tempted to miss that Biochemistry lecture in 6 hours time… It’s really not worth it – and I would much rather be present for an important lecture than sleep in for an extra few hours. When you find lecture content from those 9ams in the end of year exams you’ll be pleased you missed the hangovers!
3. Make time for friends
Obviously you should always make time to see your friends. Even with deadlines looming and stress starting to take hold, try to give yourself a break from the books and go out to be with friends. You don’t have to go clubbing or drinking – but a meal out, a library date or a cheeky takeaway and movie are perfect ways to spend that much-needed time with friends whilst de-stressing and having fun.
4. Get on top of your lecture notes
From day 1 you should be making notes from every lecture and seminar. Last year I hand-wrote every single presentation… It took me hours and I didn’t retain any of the information because I was too focused on getting them over and done with – 2am finishes because you’re cramming Genetics notes is not really ideal… So it is safe to say that this year I’m typing up all of my notes, printing them out and highlighting the important information – it’s much quicker and I now have more time for extra reading and research.
Find a method of note-taking that suits you and stick to it – it might be time consuming and boring, but you’ll thank yourself later when you don’t need to panic-write revision notes as you walk into an exam. So make the exam period a bit easier for yourself and get going with those notes now!
5. Don’t start assignments the day before they’re due
We’ve all been there… We put of assignments until the last minute because we can’t be bothered to research snore-inducing topics for hours on end – and we’d much rather spend more time watching Netflix than getting to grips with Harvard Referencing and Statistics. But again, why stress yourself out and risk bringing down your whole module grade because of a poorly organised research paper or lack of subject knowledge? Break the project down into smaller chunks, start the assignment well before the due date, and make a timetable for yourself so you only have to spend a few hours a day writing and researching – This process makes the whole assignment much more manageable, minimises stress and will probably increase your grade!
6. Spend time on yourself
This is essential. You’re at University, so you’re working hard and trying to juggle social life, work and everything else that gets thrown in along the way. Even if you spend an hour or two watching your favourite film, painting your nails, or having a long, hot bath, make sure you leave enough time during the week to de-stress and take the weight off your shoulders – and don’t feel guilty about it!
7. Use the library
Your University library isn’t just there to look pretty – it’s there to be used. Take some books out so you can tick a few recommended reading titles off your list, meet friends for study dates, or write up your lecture notes there to get out of the flat for a while. Take advantage of the quiet atmosphere, the coffee cart, and the fast internet connection and get down there to put a few extra hours of work in per week. That First won’t earn itself!
8. Don’t isolate yourself
This can be hard – especially if you’re living in a one-person studio like me. Talk to people, make new friends, and go out to see your existing friendship group! It can be easy to get lost in a Sea of students and end up slightly isolated, especially if you’re living by yourself for the first time. Be a bit proactive and leave the flat every once in a while – even if it’s for a walk around campus or a quick trip to the shops. Make sure you get some human-human interaction everyday – and don’t just talk to people over social media!
What are your tips for maintaining a healthy balance?
Yukon Blonde –> Saturday Night