How to manage your work-life balance while studying an MSc

09 October 2020

MSc student ambassador, Tanya shares how she managed her living expenses throughout her postgraduate year at WBS, as well as offering insight into how she balanced her time between her studies and her social life.

As a student, budgeting can be extremely difficult – especially in the first few weeks of term! You want to make the most of your experience, but sometimes budget constraints can come in the way. One of the things I was surprised by in my first term was how much course materials, such as textbooks, can cost! I would recommend taking a look at eBay before buying books on campus or on other websites, as there are a lot of students selling second-hand course material. Additionally, you can borrow books from the library if you want to further your understanding of the lectures.

During your one year MSc course, student discounts are your best friend – in fact, my friends and I still reminisce about using them all the time! I would recommend downloading the Unidays app to get a wide range of discounts. As well as this, if you are looking to travel locally I would recommend buying the 16-25 Railcard. Some banks do offer this as part of your student account, and it provides you with 33 per cent off train travel – perfect if you do want to go exploring with friends. I found the Monzo banking app was very helpful for me to budget, as I would put in my weekly spending amount and use their bank card to track where my money was going. It was a great reminder of where I could shift my spending. If you are looking to supplement your spending with a part-time or flexible role, I would recommend going to the Unitemps office on campus to speak to their advisors. They are very friendly and can guide you on jobs available in the local area, including roles within WBS.

One of the best things about doing an MSc at WBS is that you have the opportunity to explore not only the campus but also the surrounding areas. Coventry and Leamington Spa are very lively towns, with lots of different places to explore.  From both Coventry and Leamington you can also take the train to nearby Birmingham, Warwick and Stratford-upon-Avon. Birmingham is a great place to go to visit some amazing high-street shops and restaurants – the city even has the world’s biggest Primark store! Stratford and Warwick are stunning, historic towns that you can visit on a day trip. Warwick has the world-renowned Warwick Castle, which is a must-see tourist hot-spot to visit. 

Whilst it can be stressful trying to juggle your work-life balance, it’s really important to remember that you are only in the local area for one year as an MSc student. For me, this meant that I was sure to prioritise trips to places that I hadn’t seen before and work around these in my schedule. As well as this, I found that making time to get to know people in my student accommodation through takeaway nights and games nights was a great way to relax outside of lectures and revision. Everyone at WBS and the University of Warwick is so friendly and open to exploring, which is great when you want to make the most of your one year experience!

*Please note that this blog was written prior to COVID-19.

Discover more about life as a postgraduate student at the University of Warwick.