Sunday, 13 March 2016

College/Work/Life Balance


I've been wanting to write about college/work/life balance for a while but other ideas have cropped up and seemed more appealing at the time so it's been on the backburner for a while. I've decided that with exam season etc coming up I'm going to write a few posts on revision and other related topics so I thought this one could be the beginning of that! As part of this, if you have any ideas for posts you'd like me to write, please let me know.

Before I start this though, I just want to put in a quick disclaimer:
* I am in no way claiming to be an expert at this, I'm still learning how to balance them myself so I don't end up disappointing anyone! Its a tough learning curve! *

I've had my part-time job for just over a year which (up until a couple of weeks ago) was working on the shop floor in the clothes department of a supermarket. However, recently I've been moved onto working behind the music and video desk at the same store. I've always enjoyed my job because I like the people I work with and I like the environment of the store, but since my move I've enjoyed it even more. My new job is a lot different, and I enjoy the challenges of learning all the new skills, e.g. picking up online orders from the warehouse; using the till and tidying the shop floor among many other things! Over the time I've worked at the company, my hours each week vary vastly during term time, from not working at all to sometimes twenty hours! At the moment I'm averaging around ten hours a week which I feel is a pretty good amount alongside college.

College is a lot of work, and a lot of hard work. On top of my three A2 exams this summer, I have also decided to resit four of my exams from last year. This means that on top of my normal lessons, I also have three extra classes a week. These classes are all at times which have involved me making sacrifices for them, but although this is really tough at times (and every week I question why I'm putting myself through it!!) I feel like the long-term benefits will outweigh me staying in college till five rather than quarter past one on a Tuesday!! Not only do I have these extra classes, I also have almost all of last year's revision to do on top of this year's! Luckily, once I start revising I am quite good at sticking to it, but it's the starting that I find most difficult...!!!

And finally, life. Up until recently I've had a fairly quiet social life but over the next couple of months all my closest friends are turning eighteen... (AT LAST!!! Been waiting so long for you guys!!! ;) xx) and this means a lot of parties - definitely not complaining though!! I'm really looking forward to all the birthday celebrations and exciting things I have planned for the next few months. It's going to make all the revising and work go so much better when I have these to look forward to!

My beautiful best friends and I celebrating Hannah's 18th!
So with a very busy few months fast approaching and the need to start revising some time very soon I thought that there might be other people who are in the same boat as me. So here are a couple of things I try to do so that my college/work/life balance is somewhat prioritised right... Like I mentioned earlier, I am no way perfect at this, its a big process of trial and improvement!!

1) Explain. To everyone!
Obviously your friends and family know the stresses of college, and the hours you're at work as well. But maybe work and college don't know about your other commitments? I wouldn't talk to them too much about how you "need" to go to that party, but maybe phrase it in a way like "sorry, I wont be able to do that overtime because I have a commitment already"? Or if you're meant to be working when you have other plans, decide whether you're going to book it off as holiday or if you'll just go to work anyway. And tell your college teachers about work and your managers at work about college! I had a chat this week with my manager and she couldn't have been more lovely about my college commitments, I really felt that she understood me and how college has to be my priority. Gotta get those grades!!

2) Decide where your priorities lie.
Its really important that we learn to decide what is most important. For me, college is number one and then work and life seem to be constantly wrestling with each other for that second place spot! Some weeks I just want to work work work work work whereas others I would much prefer to just lie in bed watching catch up TV on my laptop all day. Priorities eh?!

I hope this has been even slightly useful to any of you, I quite often feel like I'm constantly juggling everything but it'll all pay off hopefully come summer when I get the grades I need, have the money to go on holiday and I still have my friends!!

Until next time!
Anna x

P.S. If you want to vote for me as UCAS blogger of the month, I'd really appreciate it! You can do that here. Thank you!

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