How to balance work and your studies

In General

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January can be a stressful time for students, you may have University exams, portfolio deadlines, your thesis to write or you may be on placement. All this, coupled with the commitments of your job may feel a little overwhelming. Most universities recommend that students only take on a maximum of between 10 and 15 hours employment per week during the academic term, but a study carried out by the NUS and Endsleigh Insurance in 2013 found that 57% of students hold down a part-time job whilst at university, with nine out of 10 of that number working as many as 20 hours per week. So how do you reach that perfect balance?


1. What kind of work are you doing?

The kind of work you are doing and the hours (not just the duration of the work, but the time at which you start and end work) is really significant in reaching balance. For example, if you are working nights doing something like bar work, you may find yourself too tired to juggle your University studies the next day. If you want some advice or support finding work which fits in well with University, get in touch with the SURecruit team and look at the Students’ Union recruitment pages, where we list support staff part-time work opportunities including marketing, communications, design and much more!

2. Time management – invest in a calendar or diary

Ever woken up late and realised that you have to be in two places at once?! We hear you! Pop along to the The Shop at SUSU and get yourself a diary or if you prefer to have an electronic version, use your phone and schedule alarms and reminders to manage your time effectively.

3. Enjoy your free time to the full

When you are really in the midst of studying, it can be easy to use ‘free time’ as simply extra time to earn some money and vice versa. This may be great for your bank balance, but not so good for your wellbeing. You deserve free time to completely relax and unwind. Schedule in at least a couple of hours a week (or as much time as you can fit in!) for you. If money is tight, maybe you could spend it catching up with friends, cooking a meal at home or watching a movie. It may seem like a waste of your time, but you will revise better and be more productive at work.

4. Consider cutting your hours

We understand that your work is important to you and you may need the money to get by, but rather than work until you burn out, it may be time to sit down and focus on what you want to achieve from working. Look at your bills and expenditure and figure out how many hours you actually need to do. If work is getting too much, consider arranging a chat with your boss to discuss cutting down your hours, perhaps even temporarily during University deadlines. Your Manager will appreciate your honesty and commitment to your work.

5. Finally, what to do when things get too much

We are here to help and support you, so get in touch with us when things get too much. Our Advice Centre is open from 9am-5pm (apart from on University closure days). The Advisers can offer you free, impartial and confidential advice about a range of different issues.

We are running events and activities to help you relax and have a break away from the stress of your studies in January. Find out more information here.

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