When I was in first year, a course mate in the year above me described how “second year is just like riding a bicycle’…
Looking back as a (not so) wise third year, whilst I wouldn’t go as far to say that it was hell, it’s a pretty accurate description!
University life can be difficult to manage. This is especially true, considering that just studying for your degree isn’t the only thing on your mind. A vast majority of students are part of something at University, whether it be a part time job, sports teams, societies, volunteering etc.Then on top of that you need to socialise, eat, sleep and perhaps the occasional alcoholic beverage just to keep you sane!
In the end, it kind of just looks like this…
Resulting in you looking a little like this…
Now don’t get me wrong, a rare breed of student can balance it all successfully…
And to those people I salute you and give you a gold star.
But for the average student, it’s just not possible to do it all. You can try to, but you’ll probably soon see that the “bicycle” is catching fire a little bit quicker than you think when deadlines come around.
Going from a calm relaxing week to one where you’ll have 4 deadlines due, 2 social events on and millions of other things on, is not uncommon.
Now I still haven’t mastered this and I don’t think anyone can really to an extent but here are my tips in trying to reach that elusive perfect balance…
Do something not nothing!
Now I’m not saying don’t do anything. In fact that’s the opposite of what I’m saying. Doing something as well as your degree is always better than nothing. No matter how tempting it is to spend your days locked up in your room watching Netflix!
Don’t be afraid to get the balance wrong
It’s okay to mess up and get the balance wrong every once in a while. You’re only human! If you feel like you’re not doing enough or you’re doing too much then remember that you always have a choice in doing what you want to do!
It’s physically impossible to do everything
I definitely feel like I’ve learnt this the hard way.
See, I’m the kind of positive, go getting person who just goes for everything. Coming from a tiny village with little opportunities looking back to my first year as an eager eyed fresher, I was amazed by everything that I could do at Uni.
I’ve been part of societies, peer mentoring, course representatives, volunteering at the Lakeside Theatre, the list goes on. I would exhaust and stretch myself so much that I would have such little time off. Whilst I enjoyed what I was doing, in hindsight it probably wasn’t worth the stress!
Organise AND prioritise
This is probably what I’ve learnt from trying to do everything…
I thought that because I was organised with my diary to keep up to date with my life that I was doing everything right. In hindsight that was only half of the battle. I just wasn’t prioritising the stuff that I wanted to do!
By organising everything that you want to do and picking the things you want to prioritise, you soon start to see what’s important. If you’re truly passionate about something, then the choice should make sense in the long run.
So, whilst it may seem that the uncontrollable “burning bicycle” might be taking over your life, there are ways to deal with getting the balance right. It will be impossible to get the balance right all the time.
But by making a conscious effort, you can make things a whole lot better for yourself!