The question of how to balance time is a very hard one that most people think they have the answer to, but in reality they don’t. It’s a concept in which everyone likes to think they have a handle on being able to manage their time, but really we are all trying to work it out one day at a time.
Being a university student, balancing my time with work, societies, sports and social activities is extremely hard, and I am still trying to figure it out now. However, I have a few tips and tricks to help those of you who are finding either adjusting to university, or adjusting to in person teaching, a little tricky.
I am currently a second year, so my whole first year experience revolved around technology, and online learning. I was able to manage my time extremely well as I had nothing else to do than work, or stay inside and quarantine while either I, or my flatmates, had COVID.
After a year of online learning it is now quite hard to adjust back
There were no societies running like normal, no ability to go clubbing and socialise, and not many opportunities to go out for a nice meal and relax. So my first year was, on the outside, a bit of a disaster.
However compared to last year, I am finding now that I need to be more organised to be able to manage my time more effectively. I think I speak for most university students when I say that after a year of online learning it is now quite hard to adjust back to regular in person teaching, as all I have personally ever known is everything being over a screen.
It feels very strange now to be able to go into seminars, and see people in the flesh, and talk to them in person. Also, now that I am a second year, the workload and pressure has increased significantly in comparison to last year. University is now getting very serious, so to be able to also have fun whilst I work hard, I have to be organised.
My planner includes assignment deadlines, weekly updates…
At the beginning of the year, I felt very overloaded very fast. I can also imagine I am not the only one. The amount of emails I was receiving daily was becoming all too much. So I decided to order an academic journal. This will last me throughout the year and is perfect for planning and managing everything that I have going on.
The fact that I can have everything stored all in one place is exactly what I needed, and is a perfect size so I can carry it around with me when I am on campus for seminars etc. My planner includes assignment deadlines, weekly updates, a calendar for each month, a timetable and much more.
Whilst I advise everyone to get a planner, it doesn’t have to be a physical copy, it can also be electronically. I also love using my calendar on my laptop/phone so that if I am out and about I can check that quickly, and then carry on with my day.
I have four different reminder pages for my four different modules
At the beginning of every year I programme in my timetable, so I have that for the year, and then whenever I have other commitments coming up, I straight away plug it in on my phone, simple and easy. I also remind myself of the event a couple of days ahead so that I dont forget it.
Also for keeping up to date with all assignment deadlines, and work due for each module I use Reminders on my laptop/phone. After every seminar I check the moodle page, or email, and set a reminder for the work I have to do for next week. I have four different reminder pages for my four different modules, and I plug in what I have to do each week.
It is so much easier to read, and it also allows me to stay more organised if it is set out in categories, rather than all together. I would become more stressed and anxious otherwise, and would not be able to manage my time at all.
Remember that university is also about working
Now that we are three weeks into university I have now got into a rhythm of when to do my work, and what days to keep free, otherwise I would combust and overwork myself.
Whilst being a writer for The Boar, I also am a member of two of the Warwick Devils’ cheer and dance squads, and a team member on the women’s netball team. Whilst I love being a part of these squads, I also have to remember that university is also about working to get the best grade possible for the future.
I wanted to be a part of more of the Devils’ squads, but then I realised I would not have any time to complete my preparation work for the seminars to come. So part of effective time management is also about making sacrifices, it will help you in the long run.
I usually try and take one day a week off if I can
Time management is something that will come with organisation and planning. If, like me, you are a bit of a busy bee, then staying organised and managing your time is extremely important, not only for your mental health but also for your physical health.
It is also okay to have days off, for yourself, to just relax and breathe. University can get very tiresome very quickly, so taking a break is nothing to be embarrassed by. I usually try and take one day a week off if I can, and I can do this by planning my time effectively.
It is only the first couple of weeks at university so, at the moment, everything is new and scary, but setting a plan and getting a routine in motion now will help in the long run.