20 Mar 2012

university: balancing social life and work

At university, you'll find that there'll be plenty of opportunities to have a social life as well as work. You may decide to run for president or another position on the committee of a society or you may decide to take part in a time-consuming sport; either way, you'll need to balance your time carefully in order to keep on top of your work.

Here are my tips:

1) Write everything into your diary.

This is what my diary looked like a few weeks ago when I was busy every day and night:

If you don't have a diary, invest in one! Don't rely on your phone or whatever - these things break down - trust me, I've had it happen to me!

As you can see, I've been pretty busy - I wrote in films I want to see (with the asterisks), what happened that day as you can see from the Friday (yes, I finally got that elusive offer for medicine!) and Saturday and Sunday - the things I did. It's a mixture of work and play - the work side was the lecture on Thursday and the play was mainly at the weekend.

2) Learn to prioritise.

If you have a lab report due in, don't plan for something the night before that will last for quite a while. Here is an example: I had a lab report due in at 2pm so I opted to play squash with a friend at half five that evening instead of the evening prior to this hand in deadline.

Another is here:

My essay deadline. This also marked the beginning of my revision week for this module and so I wrote down to make loads of frozen meals - another way to organise.

3) Write things into your diary as soon as soon as you get advanced notice for something.

I'm currently a hall senior so I have to attend fortnightly hall meetings and I write these in my diary as soon as the date for the next one is set. The pancakes event on the Tuesday is also a hall event - hence why it has also been written in. This was also during my revision week so I had planned what to revise that day - which is what 'functional methods' and 'principles' stand for.

4) If you organise something, make sure you keep track of it. 

Here, I have organised a poker and monopoly deal night. In preparation for it, I have to buy some food, drinks, snacks, etc and so I will organise this using a post-it note stuck to my 'today' marker.

5) Know what things are more important than others.

Of course, that netball/football/rugby match against a rival university is less important than a lab report but it is also more important than going food shopping - as you could do that straight after or on the way back.

These are the tips I have for this section - most of them are common sense; nothing special but sometimes we need to go back to basics in order to move forward (at least I did this year).

The next and final section is about the most important part - revision and exams. Not gonna be a fun post to write but it will hopefully prove useful to any students who read it :-)


  1. Hi Angela,
    your hints are great. And yes, you're right remembering us not only to put things into the organiser but to track them as well. That means to ME a lot of self-discipline ;-/
    But with my lovely filo .... no problem at all.
    By the way, when may we expect your sales???
    Have a nice evening.
    Greeting from Potsdam

    1. Glad you find these tips useful :-)

      I'm going home for a few weeks on Monday before the start of my final term so will probably start putting things up for sale then.

      Angela x

  2. Your tips are extremely helpful! Now that my time in high school is coming to its final months (which means, the end of IB!), I definitely find myself with more things to do other than homework, volunteering, school clubs, etc. And especially since I'm starting uni in September, it's even more important for me to learn how to properly balance both my school and social life. Thank you for teaching us how to do so with the ever trusty/handy planner :D I'm loving all of your guides and I'm learning so much!

    1. Glad to know that these tips are helpful! I trust that you'll be using a Filofax when you go to uni too ;)

      Angela x

  3. Hi! I'm new to reading your blog, and so far I love it! I have a quick question, what blue ink pen do you use in the pictures above? I am a pen addict and I love how that pen looks in your diary. Thank you!

    1. Hey there,

      The pen I use that has the thinner nib is the Pentel Energel Needle Tip 0.5mm and the one with a thicker nib is the Uniball Signo Gel 0.7mm.

      Hope this helps!

      Angela x

  4. Wow, those are some really helpfull tips, thank you! One thing grabbed my attention: you are watching GA and TBBT and note it just like I do :)

    Have a nice weekend!

  5. Hi Angela!
    I'm a student too and you're right! Don't relay on mobile calendars! My diary looks similar to yours and all I can say is, that because I'm writing EVERYTHING down in it, my friends are asking me everything we have to do till next lesson. First they were making jokes about me an my filo but now - they stopped! xD It's also good for planning papers, beeing on track with deadlines and so on. Thanks for your very interesting and helpful post! I think every student needs to be organized!!!!

  6. I agree with you! Tracking isnt just about todos