You might think that work/life balance isn’t something you need to think about until you’re a high flying executive, but everyone needs to look after themselves and not spend all their time thinking about work or academic pressures.
On the flip side, many people think university students spend all their time partying and that very little studying actually happens. At Apply to Uni we know that this isn’t the case and at certain periods of the academic year, such as exam time, it can be all study and no party.
Striking a good balance between work and play will help you to keep on top of your studies without neglecting your social life.
Here are some ideas to help you achieve a good work/life balance at university:
At many universities your first year doesn’t count towards your final academic grade, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make the most of it.
Getting into good study habits early on in your university career will mean that you’ll find it easier to cope once the pressure mounts up in years two and three.
It can be hard to develop these habits, especially if you aren’t known for your self-discipline, but trust us when we tell you that spending your Monday mornings doing prep for lectures will be well worth it in the long-run.
Just remember, this doesn’t mean being holed up in the library from dawn until dusk. Why not head to your favourite café, plug your headphones in to listen to your favourite motivational tunes, and treat yourself to a piece of cake when you’ve achieved a certain amount of work.
Once you’ve got into good study habits it’s easier to set aside specific time for socialising. For example, if you know you’ve got all of your lecture prep done by Wednesday, you don’t need to feel guilty about dedicating Friday nights to partying.
None of us want to spend our downtime worrying that we should be studying so set aside specific times for both.
You might only get five or six hours of contact time a week, but don’t fall into the trap of assuming you can get away with only working during those hours.
Get up at a reasonable time, even on days you don’t have lectures, and use breaks between lectures to keep up with work. By loosely structuring your weekdays you’ll find yourself keeping on top of work without even realising it, leaving your weekends free to kick back and relax.
Some degrees, such as English, lend themselves to this technique more than others but there are ways you can hang out with friends and keep up with your studies at the same time.
For example, if you’ve been asked to watch a film adaptation of a book you’re reading, have a movie night with your classmates. You’ll find yourselves discussing the film and answering questions you’ll probably be asked in a future lecture – plus, who doesn’t love popcorn and an evening spent watching Tom Hardy in Wuthering Heights?
If you’re commuting to university on the bus or train, use that time to do further reading around your subject. Just by doing this on the days your in class will give you a few extra hours of study time instead of staring blankly out the window for your journey.
If you commute with classmates you can even turn the journey into an informal study group and get ahead of the game before you set foot in class.