Survival Guide

Five tips to balance work and play

Good grades, social life or sleep, pick two? It’s often difficult enough to balance two of the aforementioned necessities, never mind adding in a part-time job into the mix. However, it can be done? College is meant to be a time for personal enrichment, a time when our brains soak up all this information in the hope of better job and career in the future. Can college students excel throughout their time in university whilst also frequenting club after club in an effort to enrich their lives?
People often state that ‘college is the best time of your lives’. Of course, one assumes, to have ‘the best time of your lives’ one has to do more than just go through book after book and assignment after assignment – the fun element, at least for much of us, involves socializing and having the ‘craic’. We do this in a myriad of ways; going clubbing, being active members in clubs and societies or maybe we just want to enjoy a nice trip weekend trip to Galway to get hammered, who knows. However, doing the aforementioned whilst also achieving a 1:1/2:1 in your degree is a fine balance that needs to be struck.
1 – Stop Completing Assignments So Close to the Deadline
This is very much a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ tip. Here’s the scenario; you get given a 2,000-word assignment that is due in two weeks. You decide to start the assignment 2/3 days before the deadline (I’m being generous; I’ve often started mine the night before). During these last few days, you’re unable to go out as you must get your piece done. You feel under immense pressure as this assignment is worth quite a bit of your module’s grade. The solution is simple, if you have an assignment that has a due date not so immediate, try and do it bit by bit and aim to get it done well in advance of your deadline. This will mean that you’ll be able to have an active social life during this time as you’re under no deadline pressure and most importantly, your actual assignment will be of a higher quality as it isn’t being hopelessly rushed.
2 – Stop with the Non-Stop Procrastination
We’ve all been here, ‘Oh I’ll start my assignment now’ *25 words in* “Omg that is so stupid, I wish she would stop posting this crap on Facebook”. This has happened to me countless times. It even happened to me whilst writing this article, so there’s that. Try to focus and do your assignment – don’t entertain Facebook and other distractions as it is a place where assignments go to die. Without procrastination, you’ll finish your college workload quicker and be in a position to go and have some extra free time.
3 – Prioritizing Is Key
Yes, much of us want to go to parties whilst in college. However, sometimes that isn’t possible due to assignment build up. This is when you prioritize, not just the assignments that get done first, but also, vitally, which parties must be attended and which can be shifted. Generally, do the assignments that are due first. After you do this, get the smaller assignments out of the way. Finally, after releasing some of the assignment pressure, though not all of it as you still have some more outstanding, pick what parties you can attend.
4 – Use the Bus Commute to Your Advantage
This tip won’t be applicable to everyone, of course. Depending on where you live and where you study, you could well find yourself having a long bus journey to and from college each day. Use this time wisely, especially around exam time. By studying for, say, an hour a day on the bus (in addition to all your other study, of course), you’ll kill that exam whilst also giving yourself a free night to go and enjoy yourself in town.
5 – Try Not To Stress
I know my advice on not to stress will be keenly listened to. A wise person once said: “worrying is useless. It just means you’re stressed twice”. How true that is. Try to be calm when things get on top of you. Stressing less will result in a work being done more efficiently which in turn will result in more time for fun times.
So, there you have it. There are lots of ways to balance college and having a social life. Ultimately, though, it’s up to you. With a bit of preparation and sense, we can all enjoy life whilst getting the grades we do dearly desire.