To get the complete university experience a range of elements are present. Focusing solely on your study and grades may sound great but, in reality, it will begin to consume your life and your grades will likely suffer due to burnout. Partying and socializing with friends is always a blast, especially at the time, however your education and grades will also suffer. Having money to spend on food, clothes and whatever your heart desires is also a life goal, yet to have that money, most of us have to work. Working is great for that extra change but too many hours will also affect your grades and social life. Perfecting this little trio can be hard but it is not impossible. Once you are able to do it, then you are well on the road to success. I wouldn’t say I have nailed it quite yet; however my attention is beginning to be divided a bit more fairly than before.
Last year I only had two things to worry about: study and social life. But since I used all the money I saved throughout high school on my accommodation last year, it was time to add the extra element of a part time job. Did I want a job? No. Did I need a job because my rent is $270 and study link only give $230? Yes. Am I going to give you a little overview of what you need to know about making these three work harmoniously and how I’m finding it? You bet!
My degree is obviously the reason I am at university so It is my main focus (at least it should be). This year I am taking 5 papers so the workload is heavier than last year but I have more time off due to packing my days with lectures and tutorials. When you know you have to get a job, having full days at uni can allow for more free time and greater availability when trying to find a job. Although I have more work to do, since it is predominately over 3 days, I feel like I have less than last year. What I have noticed since getting a job is that I use my time more wisely and have become more productive. When you have lots of free time, it is easy to create excuses and put work off. Now I have started to use time between lectures and any free opportunity to do readings and assignments. You would think that having a job would make it harder to get work done, however for a serial procrastinator like myself, it has pushed me to be more productive. I am glad that I had the ability to focus purely on my study in first year because it can be a big transition and it is good to put all your attention towards it. However, if and when you do need to add a job into the equation, don’t fret. It may be the extra push you need to use your time wisely and lead to a better routine.
My social life was very important to me in first year. Being 18 in a new city away from your parents is fun and I made the most of it whilst still maintaining my study. However, when you want to be able to feed yourself, your social life may need to be put on the back burner. I was fortunate that I got a job that worked well around my social life as I only work one weekend day and I got to choose which one. I knew my friends and I tend to go out on a Friday night, therefore I work Sundays. However, you will need to be willing to be flexible and that may mean having nights in, going home early, or remaining sober. No workplace wants to hire a student who turns up late and hungover, someone calling in sick every weekend or needing heaps of days off. Think of whether you want to work nights, week-days or weekends and how that will work around your own schedule. Just know compromise may be necessary for securing that source of income so you can afford to be social in the first place.
Having a job can be very beneficial I have found due to the source of income and the forced time management I now have to have. However, that only comes as a result of smart planning. For me, the perfect balance is working 12-15 hours a week, spread between a Wednesday afternoon once I have finished uni and a full day on Sunday. Too little hours and I would have no money and too many hours would mean my study would suffer. Since my timetable is all timetabled over 3 days mainly, it means I still have one weekday and one weekend day free to relax and do my own thing which I feel is necessary. Over the breaks I have also been picking up any extra hours offered to earn that extra bit of money and to entertain myself due to having nothing to do. It has meant that I haven’t been able to go home as often and for as long as I would have liked, but I have found it to be worth the sacrifice.
Getting a job can be quite a worrying thing for a student. I was concerned about the impact it would have on my study and social life. However, the impact has been very little and quite possibly, beneficial. Having a job whilst studying is a reality for many students so you are not alone. Just remember study comes first, be willing to make compromises within your own social life and plan your timetable and work hours to sort your needs. If you do that, I believe you will be able to successfully balance it all!!