Balancing Life

Studying full-time can make it seem impossible to maintain a healthy work-life balance, but there are some ways to help manage this. Monique Smith chats with Katrina Hamall, a Student Support Advisor at the University of Newcastle, to find out some helpful tips.

Studying full-time can make it feel impossible to maintain a healthy work-life balance. After all, how do you juggle study, work, socialising, exercise and relaxation all in the 24 hours of a day?

Often students will find that procrastination is their biggest weakness. They know the assignment is important, but somehow they find themselves putting it off day by day until suddenly, it’s the night before its due and they’ve written two words…their name.

“You can usually tell if you are procrastinating by the level of stress it causes you,” said Katrina Hamall, a Student Support Advisor at the University of Newcastle.

To avoid procrastination, Hamall suggests that students:

  • Stop waiting for the ‘perfect’ time to start something
  • Minimise distractions by turning off the TV and their phones
  • Slowly chip away at their assignments over time
  • Reward their hard work
  • Try studying with a friend

Tania Young is a mature age student studying a Bachelor of Mathematics and a Bachelor of Teaching with a Diploma of Languages, majoring in French. She has been completing her degree part time for 16 years and also working, with six children who have now finished school.

“Whether it be managing house chores, groceries and meals for others in the household, sick children or grandchildren, work commitments or deadlines for assignments, there are a lot of demands on one’s time,” said Young.

Whether or not you’re in Young’s position, most students generally struggle with managing to fit their assignments into their work and social time, so here are some helpful tips from Hamall about how to manage this.

  • Identify your goals
  • Determine your priorities e.g. make ‘to do’ lists
  • Plan ahead
  • Break larger tasks down into smaller, achievable tasks
  • Make your schedule flexible, be willing to accommodate more urgent priorities if they come up
  • Ask for help!

Layla Beech is a full-time student at the University of Newcastle, studying a Bachelor of Communication with a major in Media Production, and she often struggles with the stress all of her commitments cause.

Beech said, “one semester I was so worn thin that I only had three days out of the entire month where I wasn’t at uni or work.”

Many students share Beech’s situation and struggle with placing too much pressure on themselves, wanting to get 100% on every assignment, which just simply isn’t possible, unless you’re superman of course.

“Being determined to do well is awesome, but trying to cut your self some slack is vital for your mental health and wellbeing.”

So, if you are in the same position and want to get some help as the new semester starts, there is a ton of support for students who are struggling and it is important to make sure you seek out what is available to you. Get in touch with one of the many Student Support Advisors at UoN, like Hamall and they will connect you to relevant supports. Options include the University Health Service, Counselling, Disability Support, Financial Assistance, Chaplains and Student Advisors.

So, to wrap things up, here are the top five strategies you can use to maintain a healthy work-life balance while studying, as suggested by Hamall.

  • Stay organised
  • Exercise
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat healthily
  • Socialise!

For the complete range of support services avaliable at UON, check out the University Support and Services page on the university website.

Feature Image: Layla Beech