I hope you have all had a lovely festive break. Now we are all back to the grindstone and in doing so it has highlighted the importance of balancing work and life throughout university.
I am well practiced in being a student (having been in education since 2009), and I am guilty of not always balancing my social and work life.
Looking back on my experiences and forward to the rest of my PhD course, I would like to try and give myself a chance to not work and have a bit of fun. We all need a break as no one is a machine and can work 24/7.
First and foremost we are at university to learn and develop, but in order to be able to learn and progress effectively we need to be well-rested. I know there will be times where we will all be working extremely hard and for long hours but as long as we can match it with a suitable amount of time off afterward it is okay. Swansea University have published an article with study/ exam tips which I think gives some good points regarding studying and making the most of your time so that it is not a mad rush of all-nighters towards the end of a deadline. I have included the link below:
The reason I am so adamant that it is important to take a break is because I along with a few of my close friends have, in the past, worked and worked and worked until we ran ourselves down and them were struck with quite a bad illness (this includes a cold virus, chest infections and bronchitis). We often stress about taking time off to not work but the cost of continually working until you become quite severely ill is more costly in your time and health. I think we would all rather take a day off here and there rather than 2 weeks to recover from a severe chest infection.
I know that work/ life balance can be compounded further by having to work a job alongside university work. I had to self-fund my masters degree so had to work alongside my degree which was the hardest year of my life! There is help out there to help you cope with this.
I came across this article which is a good read for those of you who may be in position:
Now, in terms of time off I mean socialising whether it is with friends or in a society. Basically, you should look to do something that you enjoy that allows you to take a break from work and recharge to be ready to come back to work and tackle it like a boss. However, it is important to not over-commit, remember the point of coming to university is your education which should take priority.
We are also quite lucky to live and work in somewhere like Swansea where there are a lot of activities or things to do on our doorstep. So taking a break may just be a 20 minute walk in the fresh air.
I know that balancing work and life commitments is tricky but none of us can work flat out forever. It is important to strive towards a work/life balance. This will not only help you have a better university experience, but will equip you with some excellent transferable skills to take to a workplace after university.
Thanks for reading