‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’… but all play and no work gives Jack bad grades -hmm. Balancing studying with your social life can be challenging at university.

Too much hard work and not enough leisure time can be unhealthy, so it’s important to get the balance right. BSc (Hons) Nursing – Child student Roxanne reveals her top tips on how to work and play hard during your time at BCU

roxanne-williamsHow on earth do I balance academic demands with personal life?

This question had me stumped, but two years into my Child Nursing degree, I am happy to share with you the 5 tips that work for me:

MAKE A PLAN

What’s your goal for the day? Better still, what’s your goal for the week? If you don’t have one, try making one. I found that my plans became much easier to commit to once I wrote them down. I tend to plan the week ahead from Sunday, including ‘days off’ on my whiteboard –that’s right, I have a whiteboard in my bedroom LOL. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it! Yes, we need to work but we also need to socialise and rest- it’s important for your mental and physical health.

BE SPONTANEOUS

You may be thinking, ‘I wish she’d make up her mind… either we’re planning or we’re not’, but let me explain! Structure is good but not in excess. The great thing about my whiteboard is that I can rub things off or move them around. Sometimes I have the urge to go out for dessert with friends, or catch a movie whether at home or in the cinema. Don’t be so rigid that you become robotic. It’s nice to switch things up a little.

DON’T LOSE YOUR IDENTITY

I’d suggest underlining this one in red permanent marker, as it’s necessary for sanity. Come on now, I’m sure you have hobbies, friends and family. Aside from being a student, what else is there about you? Are you an avid traveller? Sportsman? Musician? Enjoy creative arts and writing? Whatever it is, do not stifle the mediums that you express yourself through! Also, before you began your course you were a friend, a parent, a partner… make time for the people who matter to you.

Our Students’ Union runs a wide range of sports clubs and societies. Find something that interests you and give it a go – it’s a great way to learn some new skills and make friends!

BEWARE OF BURNOUT

Often when the pressure is on, some of us switch into army mode and work ourselves down to the bone. Let’s stop right there and create this picture in our minds… What happens when you exercise at high intensity over a long period of time? Hold that thought and apply it to your studies. Know when to take a break, and don’t feel guilty for it. Your body needs it and you’re less productive without it. Secondly, you cannot do everything! Prioritise, do your best and call it a day.

BE EASY ON YOURSELF

I must admit I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so this is an ongoing challenge for me too. It’s important not to forget that we are students… learners! We won’t all hit the mark at the first attempt but stick at it and stay positive. Celebrate the seemingly small victories, remembering that we don’t start at success but progress towards it. There’s also lots of help available, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

Happy studying!

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