We’re officially one month into uni. The weather’s getting colder, the days are getting shorter and the holiday season is upon us. It would be the most wonderful time of the year, if Christmas didn’t mean deadlines, exams and a whole lot of stress.
If you’re like me and need to add endless work shifts on top of that, chances are you’re feeling a little overwhelmed right now. I am now in my third year of Journalism and PR: it took me three years to learn this lesson, but stressing is only counterproductive and the only way to balance work, uni and social life is simply to plan ahead.
Want to know how? Here are some tips:
1. Be smart
Try to separate your work days from study days as much as you can. It’s not always possible, but the more you keep them separate, the most productive you are. Nobody wants to rush to work after a day of lectures or study after a ten-hour shift.
2. Choose longer but less frequent shifts
It may seem like shorter shifts are less tiring, but they kill your productivity. If you’re lucky enough to choose your own shifts, pick up longer ones but less frequently, in order to dedicate a longer time to studying.
3. Plan ahead
Keep a planner with all your deadlines, shifts and social events. Distribute your workload evenly and go to the library with a clear study schedule in mind, this will avoid procrastinating. If you’re on a tight budget, draw a food and expenses budget and try to stick to it.
4. Find a study method that works for you
We all study in different ways. Whether it’s writing down notes, or repeating things out loud, find a study method you feel comfortable and productive with. Make sure your brain knows that studying and relaxing are two different things, ergo don’t study in your PJs.
5. Take care of yourself
We tend to think that being sleep deprived is part of every student’s life, but does it have to be? Make sure to get a good night’s sleep before a long day, try to eat plenty of protein and vegetables and drink enough fluids (and no, coffee and alcohol don’t count).
6. Take breaks
Yes, I know you are extremely busy and don’t have time for a full spa day, but this doesn’t mean you can’t take half an hour to drink a cup of tea or to go out for a couple of drinks with your flatmates. Short breaks are essential for your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s a long and difficult road, don’t forget to stop every once in a while.