university work fun balance

Balancing your Studies and Social Life at University

Posted on by Dr Tony Steele Posted in General

When you add up all the course work and social opportunities, the uni experience can be overwhelming, and one of the worst parts is feeling like you have to sacrifice part of your study time for a party or vice versa. But fear not! The university experience doesn’t have to be all work or all play – there are ways to have a successful academic career and still have time for fun.

The key to making it through is finding a way to balance your studies and social life, by setting realistic expectations, staying organised and having interim goals.

Set the right goals

A good goal is one you have to stretch to achieve, but is not so unreasonable that you’d have to drop everything else to get there. Try to get into the habit of setting goals not only for your academic life but other parts of your university experience as well.

Break your course work into achievable segments. Instead of waiting until the last minute to study for an exam or start a big project, set intermediate daily or weekly goals. This way instead of having massive chunks of work you’ll have smaller amounts to finish before the big deadline approaches.

Consider your studies a job

There is so much initiative and autonomy involved in university life! You’re on your own, with no one to tell you what to do or when to do it, but by considering your course work as your job you can ensure you manage your time wisely. This is a good attitude for getting the most out of your time at uni- at this point in your life this is your obligation.

Try looking at your lecture schedule and adding certain fixed hours of study time to your agenda. Note the date, time and place in your diary. By sticking to this schedule you can ensure you get your work done before going out, just as you would have to with a real job.

Combining studies and social life

When you have a date to study with a friend or study group it can be easier to stay committed to that time slot. Plus, studying with a friend gives you a chance to talk about the subject matter and learn from each other or clear up any doubts about the material. Even if you are not studying for the same class it can help to be with others – once you’re satisfied with your progress for the day you can go for a drink after!

Know when it’s time to relax

Too much studying can cause burn out, so when you’re planning out your day or week, add in some time for doing things that help you unwind. Go to the cinema, have dinner with friends, or have a night out of partying- you deserve it! When you know you are meeting your academic obligations you’ll be able to enjoy your free time to the fullest.

Avoid becoming overwhelmed – simplify your life

There are a lot of opportunities at uni, from joining different clubs to taking on a part-time job or just hanging out with new people. It’s important to know when to say no and how to avoid stretching yourself too thin. It’s okay to turn down a party for a night in of rest, or to say no to someone’s request for help. Although it may be hard, sometimes you have to be selfish with your time and energy. In the end focusing on yourself and your success will allow you to achieve your goals.

Pay attention to your health

Despite your best efforts, being at uni can really take it out of you. Try to cook for yourself and eat balanced meals, and stay hydrated throughout the day. Get your exercise in every week, even if it’s just brisk walks after class or a kick around in the park with your classmates.

Also, pay attention to any health issues that arise; many universities have really good health centres, so take advantage of yours even if you have an embarrassing health concern. During Fresher’s Week look out for representatives for your local GP who will be more than happy to help you register with them – so you know where close to go if you have any sudden health concerns.

Because uni is a time of socialising and exploration many students also find themselves facing sexual health issues they haven’t had to deal with in the past. Find a way to address these before they become any worse- you can even log onto our site for an online consultation.