By Mehek Shahzad
Beaches, bars, an endless array of restaurants and an abundance of galleries and museums – what more could you want from a student city? With all there is to do in Brighton, it can be quite tempting to go and immerse yourself in all that’s going on – which is perfectly okay, in fact it’s encouraged – so long as you stay mindful of your studies along the way. According to statistics from a NUS survey, 52% of university students claimed attempting to balance study and other commitments triggered an element of mental distress. In other words, they usually struggle with finding a satisfactory sense of stability between the amount of time they spend studying, as well as doing extracurricular activities or indulging in some downtime, thus resulting in feelings of stress and disorder. So, we’ve decided to highlight to you the importance of maintaining a work-life balance as a student, as well as some tips on how you can incorporate this ideal into your day to day student living!
First off, what even is a work-life balance, you ask? That is, the ability to separate your personal and, in this case, academic life without allowing one to encroach upon the other. This is a concept many university students attempt to get to grips with and apply to their own routines, but somehow end up either way too invested in their studies, thereby neglecting their own personal wellbeing, or at the other end of the spectrum – solely prioritising their social lives, and enduring hangovers rather than that all-important 9am seminar. It’s a vicious cycle, that you can break out of.
We’re all aware of how drinking and going on nights out is a massive part of student culture – and we’re not saying don’t partake and let loose occasionally. However, once your attendance and grades start slipping, that’s when you may have to work harder at maintaining that fundamental balance. Perhaps limit going out to once or twice a week, or only on weekends. Maybe also attempt some damage control from drinking, by not going too hard, and drinking more water before and after your night out so that the hangover the next day isn’t too bad and doesn’t impact your productivity too negatively. It’s good to socialise and take your mind off your studies, as you most definitely deserve it, but just try to ensure it doesn’t become an excessive habit. Most schools do have a strict attendance policy in place, so that you don’t fall behind, so make sure you’re making the most of what your course offers you!
Now for those of you who spend more time in the library, studying, than you do in your own room or with your friends – breathe. Quite frankly, your professors and university only expect you to be working outside of your contact hours for around 20-30 hours a week, so don’t feel as if you’re not doing enough if you’re not dedicating your whole life to your studies. By all means, ensure you’re meeting your deadlines, perhaps aim to complete them a while before they’re due, but don’t get to a point where your night and day is consumed by constant work. You need a break, time to rejuvenate and regain some energy. Your mental and physical wellbeing is just as, if not more important, than that set extra reading that could wait a couple hours. Take a walk, spend some time with loved ones, hit the gym, go to a society social or watch a movie – anything that will allow you to unwind for a while, and let your mind refresh a little. Even if it is just leaving your room and studying with some friends in a café instead. If you don’t put yourself first, you risk posing an extremely negative impact on your mental and physical health, as well as possibly experiencing burnout – which occurs when immense pressure is put on one person – which culminates in chronic stress, preventing you from getting any good quality work done regardless. Remember – a healthy body is a healthy mind and a healthier perspective!
Great, maybe just add a link to where people can get support if they are struggling or feel like they are approaching burn out (i.e. student life centre)