4 Sept 2014

balancing university and 'life': my own experience

It's really easy to let university take over your life and in fact, I think I was guilty of this in my first year at medschool. In this post, I will cover work and play (or at least, try to!) so I'll begin with work.

Firstly, I try and work whenever possible. Sometimes, I'm really not in the mood for study so I'll take that evening off or a few hours off and that's okay with me. I do feel a bit stressed and guilty for not doing work but then I think about how important it is to have a balance and I don't feel quite so bad. Occasionally, I get into a mood where I feel super productive and it's during these times that I take advantage and get a lot of study in (but with study breaks every hour!).

As my commute is an hour and a half each way, I try and make use of this time. I'll spend half of my journey relaxing and the other half going over things with flashcards. Flashcards are something that I count as an essential when it comes to studying and that's particularly true for me when I could potentially end up wasting 15 hours a week doing nothing whilst on the bus.

During particularly stressful times, I will light a candle a few hours' before I am due to go to bed. I leave the candle on my bedside table and when I tuck myself under my duvet, I get a faint smell of vanilla which aids relaxation. I think the tea lights shown above were only £1.50 (for the whole pack!) and although the aroma isn't the strongest, it does the job.

Make time to wind down and relax with friends... Once every few weeks, my friends and I will get together and do something that doesn't involve work. One of my favourite things to do is laugh and make other people laugh so it's safe to say that one thing that keeps me balanced are my friends.

Do more of what you love. For me, I love cooking and baking so once in a while, I'll spend a afternoon in the kitchen cooking and baking. Although I love hanging out with friends, I do love being in my own company too and this 'hobby' (if you can call it that...!) allows me to do just that.

Finally, the most important thing you can learn to do is to say 'no'. I know it's hard when a friend decides to arrange a night out as it might feel like you're missing out but on a few occasions, I've declined invitations as I'm aware of my own limits. Burning out is not fun and it's not worth risking it for 'fear of missing out'. 

Overall, I think it is quite easy to get caught up in studying 24/7 and not allowing yourself to let go for fear of guilty or anxious feelings. I appreciate this - I've been in that boat earlier this year - but each time I felt guilty or anxious, I'd remind myself that by having these breaks or times where I just focus on play instead of work, I'm allowing myself to stay sane. And I think that's the most important thing to remember: that by having this balance, I'm keeping my sanity and balance as an all-rounded human being. There's more to me than just studying and letting it define my personality is not how I want others to see me.


  1. I love this post!! I've recently graduate and completely agree with everything you've said. I wish I said NO more often and did things for myself, but learn from mistakes!

  2. Brilliant post. This year I definitely need to focus on studying more instead of watching TV all evening with friends, or going out and doing anything but study!

  3. It's funny how it goes to both extremes of the spectrum! In my first year at university I spent way too much time hanging out with friends and not doing work haha.

    I love your planner!

  4. Love the post! I would suggest however, not to use the IKEA candles, especially if you are burning them every night - they release a lot of harmful chemicals into the air, and cannot be good for you if you are breathing it regularly. I would highly recommend soy-based candles instead; they may be a tad more expensive, but overall much better for your health.

    1. Serena have right! I suggest you some oil and/or Yanke Candle!