Time management is an essential skill which you will develop during your time at university. Discover our undergraduates’ top tips for balancing your studies alongside extracurricular activities or part-time work.
Plan ahead and be efficient
Being able to work alongside studying very much depends on your own discipline and how good you are at managing your time. Alongside attending your lectures and seminars, you will need to spend some time studying and doing group work outside of your classes. In my first year, it took me some time to settle in at Warwick and get to know the University teaching style. Therefore I did not have a job, as I would not have been able to keep up if I had. However, in my final year, I am able to do all my studies and have two different WBS ambassador jobs, as well as working as a freelance website developer. All of that while maintaining a decent social life, including (before COVID-19 impacted our lives) flying around Europe a few times. So with careful planning, strong discipline and efficient working, you can most definitely work part-time and study while completing extracurricular activities.
- Jan Sterba - BSc International Management - 2020 Graduate
Find a balance that works for you
Finding a balance between your studies and your social life is very important for your wellbeing. It can be hard at times when you have deadlines, but I think it is important for you to understand that there will be weeks where you do have to sacrifice your social life to ensure that you are completing your work to the best of your ability. I find I am much more productive and I am able to complete my work when I am working on campus, either in the undergraduate learning grid or in the library. I like to finish all my work on-campus so when I leave I can be social and hang out with people in my social bubble and not have to worry about coursework that I still need to complete, I have found that works best for me.
- Laiba Ather - BSc Management - Final Year Undergraduate
Remember that everyone is in the same situation
While this was originally a concern when I first arrived at university, I realised that pretty much everyone is sort of lost at the beginning with trying to find a balance, focusing mostly on getting to know your flatmates which is expected and arguably beneficial for an overall positive university experience. Ultimately, however, most students are committed and driven towards their degree. Especially in WBS, where students who do the same degrees often have the same or similar deadlines, it’s easier to focus on assessments because you know that your friends are also focusing on the same assessments. It creates a sort of unity between students and allows for a better balance between your studies and extracurricular activities.
- Mario Grippay - BSc International Management - 3rd Year Undergraduate
Don’t let extracurricular activities impact your studies
Time management is paramount at Warwick, as this will determine whether you are making the most of your time at university. At the University of Warwick, there are over 250 societies, and socials happening every single day. Before Covid-19, this was in the form of gatherings or parties but now socials occur primarily through online events. The location of the University also helps from a social perspective, as Coventry is located in the centre of the country and you are able to travel to many places within the UK. However, as a student, we need to learn how to maintain a balance between having a social life and studying. A lack of attention towards your academic studies can be harmful towards your degree and, of course, to gain a good grade you will need to focus a good amount of additional time on your studies.
- Shubh Mehta - BSc Management (with Finance) - Final Year Undergraduate
Prioritise university related tasks
This is not something you can fully plan for until you are at university and understand the intensity of your studies. I usually prioritise my university-related tasks by doing them first and then having time for social activities in the evening. Once you understand your workload and what activities you really want to do you will work out how to balance it all. It is important to note that you cannot attend everything, so you must choose which ones are worthy of your time. Also, I tried something new this term which was working throughout the school week and then having the weekend mostly dedicated to my interests like catching up with friends online. Everyone is different but you’ll find out how best to manage your time as you progress through your degree.
- Zari Dowrich - BSc Management - Final Year Undergraduate
Self-discipline is the key
The key to finding the balance was time management and self-discipline. You have to remember that, social life and part-time job aside, you also have your education to focus on. At university, it is essential to plan your weeks so that you have a rough plan on how to progress. Inevitably, there are bound to be things that change and disrupt your ideal plan. However, having a timetable allows you to manage a balance.
Personally, I made great friends while working part-time, which made even working feel like having a social life! Most importantly, I felt that creating a rough timetable allowed me to balance all three aspects - social life, the job and my education.
- Jinesh Timbadia - BSc Accounting & Finance - 2020 Graduate.
Be prepared to make sacrifices to fit everything in
It is very much possible to work part-time while you study. I have worked during my second year and have found that the busier I got the better I have become with time management. So my advice to you is work if you want to but be cautious of the sacrifices it might require: you will not have as much spare time, you will have to cut back on the Netflix sessions, and you will have to be more productive in the library. But, overall, it is very much possible and it also gives you many more opportunities!
- Deborah Ajide - BSc Management - Third Year Undergraduate
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