The Real Student Experience: How To Achieve The Best Study-Life Balance
One of the main things I had to learn whilst at university was how to achieve the perfect study life balance.
Before you begin your first year, you’re told by literally everyone just how unbelievable your university experience is going to be.
They’ll recall all of the amazing parties, events and social nights that occurred back in the day, but they would fail to (from my experience) inform me about the struggles I’d face balancing university work on top of all this.
I went in unaware of how difficult I would actually find the transition. Obvs A Levels were difficult, however moving to a completely new city, learning life skills AS WELL as studying to gain a degree…I’ll just leave that there.
After four years going through student life and coming out with a degree, I wanted to give you all my top tips I’ve learnt over this time period.
Keep on reading to find out more…
What Does Study Life Balance Mean?
If you’re someone who’s ticks the ‘study life balance’ checklist, you’re the type who is able to manage both your academic work alongside your social life without any difficulties.
Having this is critical because it can help prevent a burn out and it’ll support your physical health and mental wellbeing.
Some students might roll through their uni years and have no issues, but most will struggle and this can have a detrimental effect.
This is super important to note ^ ‘cos if you start comparing yourself to others, you’re going to get nowhere.
How Can I Balance My Life And Studies?
There’s so many different ways you can balance your life and studies!
I’ve created a quick list down below, make sure to check it out…
1. Organise Your Week
Take time on the day before your fresh week begins and plan out a weekly to do list.
Focus on tasks by setting priorities and make sure to allocate enough time to complete them.
For example, look at what university work you have for the week and split it into smaller components.
Pencil in any social events or activities you think you could get up to and try to work your timetable around that.
Having a plan and viewing your week overall will allow you to study effectively and stay focused.
It will also be an effective time management skill, great for taking with you into your future career.
2. Implement A Routine
Linking with its predecessor in this list, implementing a routine will help you have a healthy study life balance.
If you’re like me, your entire FYP on Tik Tok will be littered with wellness influencers trying to motivate you.
They (apparently) wake up at 4:30am every single day and spend their mornings, before 8am, in the gym, meditating and preparing for the day ahead…eh???? How???
When I was in uni I think I’d wake up about 30 mins before my first lecture and always end up running late.
Putting it bluntly, their routine for someone like me isn’t a realistic goal. If anything, it would just make me resent my mornings.
That’s why it’s important for you to work out what’s right for your personality.
Spend time figuring out whether you work best in the morning or the evening, and implement that into your routine!
Set a rough bed time, pop your phone down and relax and unwind. Make sure you’re giving yourself enough sleep to feel refreshed for the day ahead.
3. Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals is crucial in order to feel a sense of achievement.
It will allow you to balance study life with your social life, ‘cos your new goals will help you focus and increase productivity.
If you set goals which are un-achievable, you’re more than likely going to see a decline in your moral and find it way more difficult to balance your life.
Make sure to carry out point 1 and 2 above, and set goals which are challenging yet attainable.
You will honestly love the satisfaction of ticking it off your to do list – we promise!
4. More Focusing, Less Procrastinating
I remember learning what the word procrastination was when I was supposed to be studying for my A Levels and I was actually out on a walk to the shops grabbing my ‘study snacks’ for the day.
It was so fitting in the situation I was in…I did not want to start my work so I thought I’d do anything I could possibly get away with to fill the time.
Procrastination is a deadly concept, especially in this day and age when we can get so distracted with our phones.
According to a study by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), smartphone users check their devices every five minutes and many of these interactions are unconscious and based on habit.
If we use our phones so much, why can’t we utilise them to make us more productive? There’s so many apps out there to help you focus whilst studying, and we have a full list you need to check out here.
Download these to your phone and you’re good to go!
(P.s – I’m using one right now to write this blog. It’s called Focus and it uses the Pomodoro method for studying. It’s honestly the best and I can’t recommend it enough!!)
5. Try Not To Say No To Things You Want To Do
I’ve talked a lot about tasks here which are related to your academic studies, but it’s important to achieve a healthy work life balance, you need to focus try not saying no to things you want to do.
University is meant to be challenging, you’re not supposed to fly through with no issues.
But at the same time, tucking yourself in your room for hours on end is not a healthy way of living.
If your friends invite you out to socialise – go! You’ll have so much fun and feel way more energised to carry out the rest of your tasks.
Need a quick study break? Why not grab one of your flatmates and go to your local coffee shop? You’ll honestly love the fresh air and a little social interaction will defo bring your mood up!
6. Attend All Your Lectures And Seminars
This might seem like a simple one but it’s vital for keeping on top of your studies and balancing your social life.
Hauling yourself out of bed and into uni is the first step in maintaining the routine, then it’s about focusing on working hard so you can enjoy your leisure activities.
This is allocated study time you can schedule into your weekly plan (like I mentioned above), keeping you on track with your work and heading in the direction of getting the top grades.
Back in the day when I was travelling into uni for lectures, I’d use the spare hours between classes to study and complete any deadlines.
It worked so much in helping me manage my day to day life and social activities, meaning once I was home I could lock away my computer and relaxxxx. How bliss does that sound?
And that’s kinda it! From my experience, if you stick to all of these top tips, you’ll barely even worry about balancing your personal life with student life – it’ll just happen! Make sure to read through some of our other top tip university blogs, such as how to budget as a student, or how to gain a placement year!