Fridays with Edie: Having a work-life balance
Let’s be honest, we’ve all cried in the library at some point
“Hi Edie – I need some serious help. How am I meant to manage four massive deadlines before Christmas while retaining some sanity and a social life?”
This is THE essential uni student problem. Whoever would’ve thought that getting an actual degree was going to be hard work?
Sometimes, when I am hunched over my laptop at 9pm on a Friday night listening to my neighbours blast Dance Wiv Me on repeat at pres (genuine problem), I let it get me down. I want to be out having a social life instead of being 700 words deep into a 3,500 word essay. But alas, my degree is calling and I am reluctantly picking up the phone.
While sometimes the idea of even beginning to think about that deadline in two weeks is terrifying, the tried and tested solution to a work life balance is to plan ahead. But don’t work toward the huge deadlines as the end point. Instead, compartmentalise your work. So, you feel stressed about your massive looming essay – make your goal for the day to write 500 words, and I promise it won’t feel as big and scary. The main idea of this is to not leave everything to the last minute, and while being aware of your deadlines, try not to premeditate how anxious you think you may feel as it approaches. By setting yourself small goals every day, you’ll have that project done in no time and with as little crying in the library loos as possible.
It’s easy to say all of this, though. I mean, who hasn’t started off every term swearing they are going to be an academic weapon, only to be pulling an all-nighter hours before your deadline? You’ll usually find me rotting in the law library as I struggle through my work that I said I would do weeks ago. I know, as much as I appear it, I’m not perfect either. Shock.
And as for a social life, play smart. Embrace that 7-7:30 TP ticket you were so disappointed with. If you know you’ve got stuff to do, why not start pres at 6pm and be in bed by 12am? I mean, you’re talking to a third year here, my days of being a silly fresh out until the crack of dawn are over. If you are really desperate for a night out: Maybe everyone you know is going out and the FOMO will just be too much to handle, or maybe you want to go because they might be there, then you just have to be prepared to work through that hangover. Grab your water and get a seat near enough to the toilets, just in case.
Despite all of this, the most important thing is that you don’t overdo it. Your mental health is important, and you deserve a break. Being a student, as much as we can have fun, can be very stressful, especially around deadline season. Make sure you do the things that matter to you. As much as we have lots of stuff to be doing (I am currently putting off a huge essay), it is important not to get overwhelmed. So, go out and have fun, but be in the library by 10am. Work hard, play hard.
Just remember – nothing is ever worth sacrificing your happiness for.
I hope this helped – lots of love, Edie x