I absolutely love being a University student, however I think I would love it just that slightly bit more if I didn’t have the constant feeling of running out of time to do things 24/7. You still haven’t finished your work for the next day, you have no food left in the flat (apart from an inedible brown banana you bought last week in attempt to be healthy) and you’re meant to be going out to Mischief dressed up as a lobster in an hour with no outfit?! Trust me – I’ve been there. (Proof below)
You are more than likely to understand, if you are at university, that managing your time is a pure skill. Your time is precious and managing it is a skill that will probably take longer to learn than any module in your degree (apart from economics; that still doesn’t make sense.
There are probably many more things that I am forgetting but these are the main ones that I find myself having to balance.
University social life
Firstly, I love halls. I have the most lovely circle of friends made from my flat, the other flat on our floor and the flat above us. The reason I love halls so much is because it is so easy to see your friends whenever you want to see them – I mean sometimes they may just want to kick you out of their room but, even if it is just for a short period of time, at least you know you don’t have to be alone. Obviously at University there are events at clubs happening every night but realistically you’d die if you went out every night. I usually go out twice a week, once on a Wednesday with my Cheerleading team and once at the weekend with my flat mates. I find I’m not too exhausted at the end of the week and I always have a good time (of course I do feel exhausted anyway because you’re not a real university student if you don’t!) Some people will go out a lot more, and some may not go out at all but I find most people slip into a routine of going out and your body is likely to adjust to this routine. Key: at University make sure you make time to be sociable or you will regret it. At the end of the day it’s not all about going out – staying in, watching a film and ordering hot cookie dough or putting on face masks are definitely good nights.
University reading and work
Of course I would love to say that I do all the work on the evening that it is set but I don’t, and I don’t think that’s something to beat myself up about. Joking aside, the lectures and work are actually very important – you are paying £9,000 a year to do this degree so there’s no point flunking. That being said, everyone works in different ways. Some people are lucky enough to not have to touch or even go near the textbook and manage to come away with flying colours. The way I try to do work, without it taking over my ENTIRE life, is by using “to do” lists. If you know me you will know my LOVE for to do lists. All I do is write down all the work that I need to do that week and then prioritise – if I don’t do this I will do all the easy work first and probably end up not quite finishing an assignment or group project before the deadline. I try and do this work whenever I am in the flat and not with my friends and also set time at the weekend to get it done.
Home social life
Mainly here I mean family, best friends and boyfriends. It’s obviously hard to go from seeing your mum everyday to not seeing her for weeks and if you say you don’t miss your mum at all you’re probably lying. To try and balance my life in Leeds and my life at home last semester I went home once and my best friend and mum both visited me at Leeds throughout the semester. With my boyfriend, we take alternative turns visiting each other every 3 weeks or so, it’s only a 2 hour train journey that really isn’t that bad. (Plus it’s an excuse to watch Bridget Jones, hehe) Also don’t forget your grandparents – they probably love hearing about your life at University so don’t forget to send them a postcard or a phone call every so often!
My favourite way to exercise is to mix it with socialising and that is why I joined the Cheer team and I am so happy that I did. We train for 2 hours on a Tuesday night, it’s not the most intense exercise ever but at least it’s better than not doing anything! Another benefit of doing Cheer is that there are socials every week and It’s let me meet a lovely group of girls. Also, through my halls I get a free gym membership to the gym so I try to use that as much as I can – I try to motivate myself to go by going to my lectures in gym clothes and go straight from campus saving me walking home to get ready to then bail out, climb back into my cosy, tempting bed and binge watch Gilmore Girls. Even if it’s just for half an hour, I always feel more awake and makes me more productive when I try to do my work. (Also it’s so much better if you go with a friend)
Eating and food shopping
This is a big adjustment to most uni students lives – actually having to work out what on earth to cook, what you need to buy and how on earth you are going to haul it back from the supermarket without paying a £4 taxi fare. The way I do this is I plan my meals for the week on a Sunday – not set in stone but just so I know that I have enough food to last the week. I then write a list of what I need to buy and go and get this on the Monday and carry it back in a big shopping bag that has a shoulder strap – honestly saves my hands so much pain. Also a good idea is freezing any leftovers you have from meals or cooking batches of food to freeze – it’s so easy to put it in the fridge to defrost overnight and heat up in the microwave, saving you slaving over the cooker every night.
Thinking about where I spend my money is the bane of my university life. I set a weekly budget and try to stick to it as best as I can. It may be difficult not being able to spend your weekends mooching round and picking out your favourite bits from Topshop every weekened but you do get used to it… eventually. (Unless you have a part time job – in which case you’re lucky).
I used to underestimate how nice it is to take time on your own to yourself – socialising can be so exhausting sometimes. Taking an hour to yourself can sometimes keep yourself – this is partly why I write these blogs every week.
Obviously I am only a first year student so I presume you have to balance even more as you go up in the years but university is a learning curve so I’ll cross those hurdles when I get to them.