Time management skills for 1st years with a love for going out

I’m struggling. Let’s face it, 1st year is the year of partying and socializing. Chances are you’re busy at lectures all day and with newly-made friends all night. I don’t blame you, since starting university my life has been a full blown science experiment on the most efficient ways I can balance the unsurmountable pile of reading awaiting me at home, and the London town adventure budding outside my window. I’m not an expert on this topic and nor will I ever be, but I thought it could be worthwhile to share some of the things I do, in an attempt to not let my life waste away completely. Enjoy! 

 

  1. The word ‘No’ is actually an option. 

 Okay, maybe not just a blunt and slightly passive aggressive “no”, but you are actually permitted to substitute plans for a night in. If the thought of another night out makes your stomach churn, try (to the best of your abilities) to tell your friends you’re just not feeling it. Chances are, they know the feeling as well and will understand where your coming from. It’s still hectic (even 4 or 5 weeks in) and no one expects you to be available all day, every day. You also have months of 1st year left to explore London and there’s no rush to do that all now. 

 

  1. Catch some Zzzzs from time to time. 

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve also made up for lost time by cutting out sleep from your daily routine and opted for the can of monster before your 9:00 am lecture. While you’re probably feeling fine after the second wind hits, you probably find yourself crashing at random moments throughout your day. There’s no escaping this downward spiral but there is a way to combat it once it does happen. 8 hours of sleep is not on any of our radars at the moment but I’d say at least 6, maybe? A nap or 2? Some more coffee? If you’re going to crash during a lecture then maybe sit at the back? 

 

  1. Avoid trying to read everything 20 minutes before your seminar. 

My biggest tip to date is PLAN. Every week, plan in advance what, how and when you are going to divide your weekly reading. If you’re like me and hate reading digital copies, take an hour out of your day and spend it printing and organizing your reading list. Then divide your day into 8 hour sections. 8 for studying and classes, 8 for sleep (although we’ve already touched on this point) and 8 for anything else you want to do (this includes eating and life chores in general). I’m not going to lie, it’s a strict schedule but it’s not set in stone. Your days will change and shift and so will these hours. My advice is just make sure you give yourself time. Constant stress and pressure especially at an early stage will eventually lead to you burning out by the time you get to 2nd year. But again, who am I to know… 

 

Well, if you’ve read this far I hope you found some it useful, if not then at least entertaining during mid-term season. I know I’ll be needing to follow some of my own advice these next couple of weeks. I guess if there’s one thing to take away from this, is that you should find your own pace and the routine that makes you feel happiest. If you love having a busy lifestyle with many society activities and outings with friends than do that, if not then don’t force yourself to do something you know won’t bring you joy. University is experimental, you are out on your own for the first time and you’re still figuring yourself out…give yourself time.