When you arrive at university, it can be an overwhelming experience. With so much on offer; from exciting new societies, to nights spent socialising with your new friends, many students will admit that their studying has slipped as a result.
When you’re on different timetables to your friends, FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out can strike at any time, tempting you away from your work and to the nearest pub! If this sounds like you, read on to learn our top tips for how to manage your time when it comes to balancing your social and uni life and get the best of both worlds.
Pick and choose
Most universities have a wide variety of societies and activities available, with something to suit everyone, from football and dance, to chess and politics – and even more exotic options like Quidditch Society and Ultimate Frisbee! However, with each society comes time, commitment and money – and you may find that if you join too many you have no time for university work.
Instead, attend as many taster sessions as you like in the first few weeks of term, then pick one or two of your favourites to commit to. This will give you a couple of nights off a week to enjoy doing something you love, as well as ensuring that your uni work – and budget! – stays in check.
Make your own timetable
Some courses have fewer contact hours than others – and this may mean you find yourself with only a few hours of seminars and lectures a week. Just don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your time outside these classes is free time!
To ensure you make the most of your time, create your own timetable or personal planner with time set aside each day for seminar prep, the gym, food shopping, lectures and socialising.
Try to structure your workday in a similar way to how your timetable was at school – this should help you to feel more engaged. You can then feel smug arriving at your lectures with all your prep ready – plus you’ll be able to enjoy your evenings without worrying about overdue work!
Balancing your uni life early on will make all the difference – as first year is often a very different experience to your final year. Form good habits early on and stick to those timetables!
Use your network
Making friends at uni is important – after all, these friendships are likely to last for life. So, why not make the most of your new friends and study together? Share time management tips and encourage each other to stay off social media while working.
If you find it distracting to study as a group, try studying separately and agree to meet up after a few hours for a break. If you have friends on the same course, you can even use this time to swap notes or practice a presentation.
Once studying is over, enjoy a drink together at the student union after a successful day’s work.
Although going out partying too much can affect your uni work, the opposite can also have a negative effect. If you spend all your time locked away in your room working, you won’t be making the most of the amazing opportunities uni can offer you.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to studying – everyone deserves a break now and again! Enjoy hanging out with your new friends, exploring a new city and trying new things.
If you’re struggling, ask your personal tutor for help. Your union should also have a service that you can use if your work/life balance is affecting you.
So, the key here is managing your time well. Don’t run yourself into the ground studying – but also remember to take some time off every once in a while and have fun. After all, uni is not only about the qualification, but also making lifelong friendships and enjoying the experience to the full.