One of the things most students don’t think will be a problem is balancing their studies with going out. University is nothing like school, you have much less timetabled contact time with lecturers, which means more free time to do with what you like right? I wish.
Being at university means that a lot of the time you’re trusted to do your own independent studying, much more than most students are used to doing at school. This means you often get stuck between staying in and revising for that test tomorrow or going out and having a laugh with your new hallmates or coursemates. In first year the mentality that it doesn’t go towards your degree is difficult to get rid of, especially if you have a more intense course than your mates. For me being in my second year I’ve rarely gone out, which is partially because less of my friends want to go out because they have so much work and because I have so much work!
In my first year I struggled like many students to find a part time job, so was a bit strapped for cash, especially when my car kept breaking down! This year I have managed to find a part time job as a chef in a pub in Newcastle. I work enough hours to keep me out of my overdraft and in as little debt as possible, but when I’ve been working the whole day or night I lose my motivation to do my university work when I get home, or to go and see my boyfriend and end up just falling asleep. I find that planning when I’m going to do certain articles or essays doesn’t always work for me, so I try to set out an hour or so each day, usually in the morning before work or uni, where I can get a little or a lot done depending on how I’m feeling, but I always try to do something that contributes towards it.
Personally I wouldn’t recommend getting a part time job that doesn’t recognize that you are a student and therefore you have limited hours that you can work a week because of other commitments. Only do more if you feel that you can, and try to get exam time off or the stress of revision, work and everyday stresses of life can just get too much and put you off your exam game.
If you ever do feel like everything is getting on top of you, I highly recommend going and speaking to your lectures where possible. They can give you advice on what to do and, in exceptional circumstances, they might even give you more time to do your work and extend the deadline. If you don’t speak to anyone about how you’re feeling, then its unlikely that anything will get sorted and the stress will mount up.
Remember, university work is important, but keeping in touch with your friends both at university and at home is too. Everyone needs time to kick back and relax; we just all need to know how to keep it balanced.