If you follow me on social media sites
If you don’t, you totally should. Instagram handle is @jade.tog.ldn
Or even if you read my latest blog, then you will have probably guessed I am studying a masters degree in film production. But while all of my classmates are finishing this summer, I am on the course for one more year. This is because I am on the part time course, so instead of doing the one year I am spreading my classes across two years. This is solely because A GIRL’S GOTTA PAY RENT.
That darn thing called a job, it takes up the majority of my daytime in the week. Thankfully, I have been blessed with a very understanding boss who is supportive of my studying… provided I tell her the days I will be in class and how long they are at a time. Throughout this entire first year of my masters, I have had at most two days of the week where I have had to dash off to uni in the middle of the day for a couple of hours.
I have also heard multiple times from classmates, and even lecturers, “How’s having a full time job and studying going? Are you coping?” And, yes! I am! But I think that is mostly because I have organised my time efficiently enough so that I don’t feel overwhelmed with the two.
The benefit of being on a part time course is that not only does it not consume my entire week, but I also have less classes than the rest of my group. As mentioned earlier, my classes are spread across two years, so while I have been taking at most two modules each term, the rest of my year have taken roughly four modules. In the summer when my course starts back up again, I will most likely follow the same pattern (but have my major project to do which is a bigger stress than I care to think of right now!)
So how exactly do I juggle both? Well, I have three ways that I have managed.
Communicate clearly with my everyone.
If you are going to work and study simultaneously, you MUST communicate not only with your boss, but with your university. As mentioned, I’m lucky to have a boss who is supportive of my studies, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had heated discussions over overtime that my course has expected of me. There have been times I wanted to be at uni to do some work with others, and because I hadn’t communicated with my boss sooner we ended up having some conflict for a short while until we resolved a common agreement.
Also, you must communicate with your university of your working lifestyle. At the start of my course, there was a girl who mentioned on the induction day that her working hours conflicted with class times. And that she also lived an hour away from the university. And that she couldn’t change her working hours, or where she lived. Of course, my university tried to accommodate to her needs, but at the end of the day this girls lack of communication between work and university this resulted in her having to leave the course. Maybe there would have been another way for her to continue? Who knows. But from my own experience, communication with both sides has been a key thing for me.
Plan days for coursework
This is something I am only just getting to grips with, I must admit. But designating certain days that you will work on your university coursework will ease the tension and stress of completing assignments while you’re at work. What I have started doing, is firmly tell myself that I will do some of my assignments one or two evenings a week to get chunks of it done. Or, if you have a flexible boss like I do, you will have the rest of your day free from work on the days you have university so you can just stay around the library and get some work done there! I never took full advantage of my library for my undergraduate degree, so I am making the most of library time for my masters.
By slotting certain evenings for coursework, you will find that when you get to work you will feel more capable of focusing because you won’t have that nagging voice in the back of your brain saying “This uni work needs completing soon!”
Unless you’re like me and avoid doing university work by socialising with friends, you will be able to find the balance to make sure you have work, coursework and socialising under control.
Give yourself a day just for yourself.
This final one is very important. The last thing anyone wants is for you to burn yourself out. Your boss doesn’t want it. Your lecturers doesn’t want it. Your mental health doesn’t want it. Depending on your work schedule and what days you have university; hopefully one day of seven you will have completely free from both. What I tend to do on this day is to catch up on sleep, watch the latest Netflix series I am obsessed with, and catch up with family and friends. And if I am feeling fresh by the end of the day (AND ONLY IF) then I might look at my university work just to check it is all still making sense. I won’t actually add anything, but I will just look it over to give myself some reassurance that I am on top of things, or to give me an insight of what I need to do next.
The purpose of this isn’t to actually stress yourself out more, so if you feel stressed at the thought of this then just go back to watching Netflix. Don’t get yourself overwhelmed with things because once that happens, you will notice your work life and university life starting to become unbalanced.
So there are my top three ways of balancing work and university. Of course, it is mandatory to keep socialising, but make sure you don’t let that take over your life when you are meant to be doing work. This isn’t one of those games where if you choose to have a good social life and student life then your work life will suffer. And likewise for the other varieties of options.
You can have a healthy work life, healthy student life and a healthy social life all at once. It just takes a bit of balancing.
I hope you enjoyed this blog, let me know in the comments how you balance work life and student life!
Until next time,