LIVING LIFE AND BALANCING UNIVERSITY: THE STRUGGLE
Whoever told you studying is easy, definitely had no need to balance their grades, social life, work commitments and overall health (No more cup noodles please!). Although, maybe that person did and they just had their life together. Who knows. What I’m trying to say is that it’s okay if you’re struggling a little bit balancing all the things life throws at you. What matters is that you roll with the punches you get.
Advice #1: Keep a calendar.
One of the biggest challenges for me in my university life was to remember all the minute details of my assessments, work schedules and social schedules. There was a period of time where I forgot that I had a social event and an assessment due on the same day, and was forced to fail my assessment so I could party on the weekend. I’m kidding. Of course, I stayed home like a good student and ate my feelings away as I completed my assessment (shout out to Doritos for being the study buddy of the century). After that day, I planned to get organised.
Being organised is the only way in which you will survive university without feeling like it took a part of your soul. At the beginning of each semester, pull up all your unit guides, and place all the due dates for each assessment, test and task you must complete. Strike in your times at university. When you receive your rosters for work, pop them in your calendar. When you are invited to events, place them in your calendar. Allocate yourself some time to study for tests, time to two assignments, time to socialise, and of course time to yourself. Having a calendar will help you see what weeks or days are busier and help you decide what your game plan for the upcoming week would look like.
Advice #2: Connect and Network.
This is the most valuable time for you to create and network with as much people as you can. Create a LinkedIn profile. Connect with your lecturers, guest speakers, peers, tutors and maybe one day you can leverage your relationship to open doors for new opportunities and career prospects. I was lucky enough to have a job opportunity open up to me through recommendation by one of my close lecturers.
Advice #3: Find experience.
Whether you are a business student, science student or even a teacher, find as much experience as you can during your university career. Whether they are internships (paid or unpaid), volunteering experience at NGO’s, educational institutions, jobs related to your field, use this time to gather as much professional experience as you can. You can even volunteer and participate in events related to your field.
When I wanted to pursue speech pathology, I had volunteered weekly at a NGO doing small tasks such as administrative duties and cleaning. However, through this experience I gained a lot of insight into working with disability, working as a speech pathologist, working as an occupational therapist, and the overall culture of an NGO organisation.
The more experience you gather during your education, the more you learn, and the more driven and organised you look to future employers.
Advice #4: Have fun!
This may sound like a cliché thing to say (and it definitely is) but it does not make it any less true. University provides you with freedom, social networking, friendships and all sorts of experiences you may get elsewhere. Use this time to join clubs, go hiking on weekdays, eat a lot of food and drink a lot of coffee and just enjoy your campus life! It may sound crazy after all the planning and activities you may have to do during this time, and you may be thinking – who’s got the time? You do. Use that calendar!
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