No, not the Kardashians
When I first started university in September 2016, I already had a part time job in the city centre, a 25-minute walk from my student flat. I was lucky in that aspect, and this was also a big reason why I chose the university that I did, amongst other things.
I’ve seen how long looking for jobs can take, especially when you’re a university student with limited work availability. It has taken some of my friends over a year to find a job that suits them and is accommodating to their studies.
Lets face it, the only reason any student gets a job alongside university is for the money.
For me, although my loan helps, it isn’t enough and I don’t know what I would do without my wage coming in every month.
In terms of balancing my social life, over Christmas I didn’t really have one, with deadlines looming and having hectic Christmas hours (as I work in retail) going out to celebrate was a myth.
Now however, we are in a new year and this year I have found ways to help me balance the 3 defining parts of mine and I’m sure, many other people’s lives.
- Make sure that although you might be telling yourself ‘think of the money’ you are capable of doing shifts at work that don’t jeopardise your university deadlines, revision or other higher ranking tasks. Having set workdays would be perfect for everyone but you don’t always have a choice. Always make sure you’re available to work when you say you can.
- University must come first, in my case. I haven’t put this mediocre amount of effort into my education to lose control of my studies and drop out now. Although I love my job, and appreciate working there, university is the chosen king of my hierarchy.
- Try your best to not get stressed. I know that sounds crass but honestly, taking time out of your day to do something as crap as go for a walk to clear your head (I walk to the local shop and buy a Rubicon half the time) can really help your motivation levels, plus you now have a drink. On the way back I just tell myself what I’m going to do when I get in and get a few ideas going, especially if I’m writing an essay.
- If you have to choose work over going out with your friends, they will understand. BUT, don’t agree to work if you have big plans, if you’re being asked to do a shift last minute and you have plans to go out, its okay to say no, you have plans and your job is to show up for your shifts and help out when you can, your employer will understand if you simply say ‘really sorry but I have plans’. You don’t want to miss out on going out for a friend’s birthday to cover a shift for someone that’s asked you to do it for that exact reason too.
- A social life is an integral part to any person’s life, but none is more important than that of a students. Calling in work sick when you’re actually hung-over is NOT okay, so before you get a job or agree to work extra shifts, make sure you can and will actually do them, or you’ll feel even worse about your day.
- I quite literally can’t stress enough the importance of talking to your friends or people on your course. If you have a deadline, you need to get it DONE, the sooner the better. If you meet the right people you’ll be lucky enough to experience these two scenarios:
‘For fuck sake I didn’t realise the deadline for the essay was this Friday!’ ‘Wait, what essay?’ ‘The 2000 word one where we have to include a rationale and Harvard referencing’ ‘oh shit….’
‘Have you started your essay yet?’ ‘Yeah/no I’m a bit confused’ ‘right lets do this together and just change our sentences up a bit so Turnitin doesn’t catch us out.’
So, yeah, that’s usually how it goes, there’s always going to be someone who has finished his or her work before you. But, there’s also going to be someone submitting theirs way after you, just don’t be the only idiot who thought they were cool and didn’t ask for help and end up doing your coursework wrong. Also, don’t beat yourself up if you end up doing it the night before its due in, everyone does that.
It can be a real struggle finding a balance between all of these things, but you have to decide for yourself the order of importance and what each aspect of your life matters the most.
If you find yourself crying thinking about all of your university work, we can all make up tweets about ‘procrastination’ which lets be honest are all funny and I might attach some of my favourites. But in real life, we all feel unmotivated and lazy sometimes.
Some other more physical tips I will give are ones I personally find so helpful.
- A wall calendar, I got an Elvis calendar for Christmas this year (lucky me) and on that I simply write all of my shifts at work, my Uni deadlines, when I’m timetabled to be in university and any social events I have that are set in stone e.g. peoples birthdays and all that jazz.
- A day-to-day diary, not something to pour all your deep thoughts in to, mine is just full of to do lists or notes I need to make throughout the day such as. ‘Pick up more shampoo on way home from work’ ‘buy the new edition of blogosphere’. It’s the little things, those things we always say we will do but never actually get round to doing.
Final thing, which is going to sound so stupid, have a plan for every day, something as shit as ‘you have to eat the rest of the crumpets today or they’ll go off’ might be small but it literally will give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
Hope this helps a little bit with the massive stress ball that is your lives.