Striking a Balance: Managing my Studies and a Business

Starting at university is a huge step to take at any time, but this year has been a particularly crazy time to make the jump. With COVID-19 and online learning, university has hardly been the back-to-back party most students expected and dreamt of.

Before lockdown I was working for a children’s entertainment company. It was the dream job for any 18 year old girl. I felt a bit like Hannah Montana - by day, a typical A-level student but, by night, a Disney princess making dreams come true. Then, unfortunately, COVID came along and ruined all the fun!

During the first lockdown, my boss and I made some video calls to some amazing little princesses to try and spread some happiness in our own little way. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to be able to keep spreading smiles in what must have been such a difficult time but, it simply wasn’t the same. I wanted to be out there - making magic and putting smiles on little faces!

As lockdown eased and we started planning, my boss and I started discussing my plans for the future. At the time, I had planned to move to Loughborough for university which was a two-hour train journey from where I was working so this obviously meant that I wouldn’t be able to work like before. I always knew it was going to be a tough decision because I adored my job, but when we discussed my options, I suddenly had a brainwave.

“I’ll start up on my own by doing photography!” I said to my boss.

Now, this may sound a little left field, but over the time I had been working at parties, I had also been building up a photography portfolio too. It was something I had toyed with for many years, but I truly fell in love with it when I went for a family wedding in Italy in 2019.

From that point onwards, the idea just snowballed. I started to brainstorm ideas and concepts and it just felt like the missing jigsaw piece had finally found its place.

Image courtesy of @_frozenintime_photos

On 14th July 2020, Frozen in Time Photos was born and from then, I’ve been juggling everything between managing a business and working hard to obtain my degree.

I won’t lie, it is far from easy. As a result of COVID restrictions, the photography element of Frozen in Time has been forced to take a bit of a back seat, but to keep myself busy, I decided to start offering commissioned art. This has been a popular venture so in the lead up to Christmas, I have to make sure that I am very organised so that everything goes properly as planned.

Image courtesy of @_frozenintime_photos

Having spoken about my story, I will now share some of my top tips for staying on top of everything, no matter how busy you get!

 

  1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN - If I have not stressed this enough - PLAN. Your time is truly precious. Making sure you schedule your time well will help you to stay focused and actually get your work done. If you ever feel like taking a break and watching a show or some TikToks, go ahead! But, remind yourself to leave time in your schedule for this leisure time as well. That way, you won’t feel guilty for relaxing nor will you feel like you have overworked yourself.

 

  1. TICK IT OFF - I don’t know about you, but I like to be able to see when I have done something; it just makes it so much more satisfying. What I do is put little tick boxes next to my tasks so that I can feel that sense of accomplishment when I finally tick them off!

 

  1. WAKE UP - I know what you’re thinking, “Here’s another patronizing person thinking it’s just that easy to get up early,” but I am here to acknowledge that it truly is not ‘that easy’. I understand the pain. But I would urge you to just push yourself a little bit. If you normally get up at 10am, then try setting your alarm for 9.30am. You won’t be losing three hours of beauty sleep, but you would definitely have earned yourself some extra time.

 

  1. DON’T OVER COMMIT – I admit that I am guilty of this so I have to warn you about this! Last year, before my A-level mocks - before Frozen in Time was created - I worked between 4 and 6 hours a day doing parties and then went back home to my books. Needless to say, I ended up burning out and it was far from pleasant. So, if you need to work while at university, make sure you aren’t stretching yourself too thin.

 

  1. SPEAK UP IF YOU ARE STRUGGLING - Both your employer and your university should be there to help you if you are struggling to balance it all. Remember, you don’t have to be the master of doing 12 things at once and neither should you burden yourself with such high expectations. It is okay to admit you need help and ask for it.

 

  1. MAKE SURE YOU’RE EATING - It’s essential, if you’re working hard over many hours, that you give yourself time to get some proper food in you. When you’re busy, it's easy to let simple things like eating slip, so make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients in you to get you through it all. Even if you have not done as much work, you still have to nourish yourself regardless.

 

Of course, we all have days when things just seem to crumble, and we feel like we’ve hardly managed anything. This is completely normal and, I don’t want anyone to ever think that it isn’t. What matters is that you remind yourself that even if things don’t work out for you today, you need to get back on your feet and try again tomorrow. Try it over and over until you get it. I have no doubt at all that you can all be successful in all that you set your mind to and work towards because you are all powerful, strong and capable of great things!

 

Words By: Alice Mason

Edited By: Harsheni Maniarasan