Keeping it all in balance: Self and Study
As a first-year student of a healthcare course, the act of balancing time to myself and making the most of my university days with the busy lecture schedule and assignments was initially a bit of a struggle. Along the way, I have managed to come up with ways of keeping happy and healthy whilst still achieving in my studies. I hope that my experience will help you do the same.
Make it visual
A great way of balancing your time is to go visual. This really helps you see how you've distributed your time during the week, and highlights where your free time is.
At the start of each term I make a weekly timetable and add my lectures or seminars on each day and then the other things that happen every week, like work shifts. That way I can see which days are most busy and those which are lighter. I can then make time to rest after a heavy day and catch up when I have more time to go at my own pace.
Colour-coding is also a lifesaver! I like to have a colour for uni and then a colour for me so I can easily see which part of the day is my own. On another note, this truly shows whether you have got your balance right as the colour for uni shouldn’t completely outdo the colour for you or (more fittingly) vice versa.
I promise not to dwell on the title too much as I know you may be bored to the bone (points for anyone who recognises the song there) with how many times you hear this from lecturers, but do listen just this once as it really will help you in the long run.
It may not work for everyone, I understand, but planning ahead really helps me get the most out of my studies whilst also allowing me to relax and enjoy being young. My advice would be to look at your modules and how they are assessed as this allows you to make notes and resources in a way that will be useful revision and so saves that cliché all-nighter before the exam. Also, prioritise the time you spend on each as there is no point revising every hour for something you find easy and leaving something you find hard to the last minute.
If you do this before it all piles up, then it becomes a lot easier for you to say to yourself “Okay, I have worked well today, let’s end on a high” and not feel guilty or anxious about deadlines creeping up behind you.
I think it’s vital to remember that most courses are 3 or 4 years and so there’s no need to cram everything into freshers, you have plenty of time to explore everything that Leeds and university life has to offer. Yes, go out clubbing and have parties with your friends, just reign it in during those assessment weeks or save it for the holidays.
Now just a little note, don’t be put off name as the day itself doesn’t matter it just sounded good so that’s why I included it!
Keeping yourself physically and mentally healthy as a student is almost as important as studying itself, so finding the time to take a break should always be on your schedule. Studying online, or from home, has definitely made this more difficult as there is no walking back in from a busy day at uni and closing the door on the working day and so this is one way I like to rewind and relax.
I give myself a full day every week where I press pause on all things academic and press play on all things fun (Netflix binge-watching episode included!). Whether it is spending it with friends and family, having a lie in or a facemask and some yummy snacks, a day to yourself doing what makes you happy and relaxed is a great way to keep your wellbeing in check so you are in a good place to engage in your studies later.
You are still uniquely you, even when studying for a degree so don’t get lost in all things academia.
Take it from me
I have been there, trust me. It took me a long time to accept that I may not be my best all the time and that I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking time away from textbooks to keep on top of my health. Life is for living and should definitely NOT be miserable.
I’m no expert but I hope that the things I have said help you to balance work and social life and most importantly keep you happy and healthy!
Hello I’m Juliet and I’m studying Speech and Language Therapy here at Leeds Beckett.
I like spending my spare time reading going to live music events or going on walks in the countryside with family and friends. I also love a classic rom-com or Netflix and a bar of chocolate!