University life is an ever-changing and fascinating experience. It’s the gateway to adulthood, independence and the breeding ground for both long and (very) short-lasting relationships. But with more and more young people opting to attend, the competition for degree-demanding jobs is growing.
This means students have two options; start building their career before they graduate or find themselves in the post-uni graduation pool with every other student looking for experience.
That being said, balancing your studies, social lives and career is no easy task. It takes discipline, focus and the occasional sacrifice (that means missing out on a couple of your sport clubs’ socials) but it is definitely worth it in the long run.
Of course, time management plays a dominant role in any time-consuming activity and it certainly doesn’t go amiss in balancing work and university. You’re going to be under a lot of pressure with your studies; attending important lectures and completing your assignments prior to the added workload from your new job.
Start with something as simple as adding your lecture and studying times to your digital calendars and sync them across your devices. This means that no matter where you are, you’re able to identify your commitments and avoid double bookings.
I’d even recommend breaking down your calendar further by including chapter sections or set a ‘number of words to write’ target. The more organised you are, the easier it is to focus on the task at hand. There are loads of apps that can help you manage and prioritise your time too.
Preparation Is Key
As with most things, the more prepared you are, the higher chance of success – you want to be ready for any opportunity when it presents itself. Have your work clothes ready the night before. If you missed a task or chapter that day, find a new place for it in your schedule.
Trying to juggle five things at once whilst you’re running around in the morning is the last thing you want. Especially in regards to managing stress…
Stress is something that most students face throughout university. With the introduction to new responsibilities, empty wallets and fast approaching deadlines, the last thing a student will want to do is add on more pressure.
As mentioned above, good time management is a very effective solution to stress as it helps break down tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces of work. University is known for its social experiences, so try and talk to your friends about the pressure you’re under.
You’ll find that discussing problems with the people you’re close to can help your stress; a problem shared is a problem halved, after all. Meditation is another fantastic way to reduce stress or anxiety and it’s much easier than most think. Check out this easy-to-use, guided meditation app.
Give Yourself Enough Free Time
At the end of the day, university is much more than just writing assignments and building a career, so make sure you embrace it. It’s a place where young people find themselves, meet long-term friends and take advantage of the £1 drinks down at the union.
No matter how you find solace, make sure you include enough time to blow of steam. Head out for that much anticipated night with your friends, exercise or just relax and do absolutely nothing. Whatever you choose, include it in your schedule. The last thing you want is all work and no play.
Be Confident In What You Can Afford To Miss
Keeping a good balance means you’re going to have to make a lot of sacrifices. Obviously, you can’t be in two places at once so decisions will have to be made on whether you’re going to attend university or your place of work.
There’s going to be a lot of crucial seminars and revision sessions throughout your course and a lot that aren’t so important. A lot of tutors post their lecture slides online now, so if you can afford to skip the odd lecture then do so – just ensure you don’t risk being disciplined due to poor attendance – which brings me onto my next point…
Keep Everyone In The Loop
Let your lecturers know that you’ve taken up a career-benefiting role and that it may affect your attendance. Most of the time, they’ll support you if they’re kept up to date and may even give you a little extra leeway if any problems arise.
In a familiar fashion, inform your employer that you have university commitments. They may even adapt your work schedule to fit around your studies as long as you get the work done or make up the hours.
Managing Your Money Becomes Much More Important
As a university student, money is just means to and end for alcohol and microwave meals until the next student loan drops. However, when you have new career-related commitments, ensuring you manage your money becomes much more important. Not many bosses will accept the, “I couldn’t afford the travel” excuse when you don’t show up.
Plus, depending on the job you are after, you want to be able to pick up the right uniform or supplies to carry out your job successfully. Remember when we spoke about preparation?
University is tough. University is expensive. University is becoming…expected.
There is a phenomenon right now that is having a very negative effect on the lives of young, ambitious people. Most employers are looking for relevant experience from their candidates, something students don’t have, so how are students meant to gain experience if no company will hire them?
This is the definition of ‘catch 22’.
It seems like the only way for someone to get ahead of the competition and avoid being stuck in the same situation as every other student is to start working on their career whilst at university. It’s difficult. It can be exhausting. But it seems that with the eruption of graduates over the past ten years, beginning your career simultaneously is an extra-credit course in it’s own right.