University is well known for killing your social life and as someone who likes to be fairly social, trying to balance a medical degree, work, sports and a social life was a challenge. So I thought I’d share how I manage it.
I used to do a lot of sports, I’d do karate twice a week, cycling twice a week as well as commuting by bike and I also took up hockey. I ended up cutting this down a fair bit, I now only really focus on hockey so I train on a Wednesday and play a match on every other Saturday around work.
Work I’m really lucky with, I’m an admin at a hydro pool at the moment so I work every other Saturday and Monday evenings until 8pm. I’m also a physio assistant at a local hospital on their bank staff, meaning they send me available shifts and I pick and choose which ones I want to do. This is super helpful because not only am I gaining experience, but I have the freedom to decline shifts if I have too much other stuff going on.
Socially, I tend to keep my Saturday evenings free from study to either just relax with my boyfriend or to go out. I also tend to study a lot so when people ask if I want to go out, assuming I haven’t recently been out, I’ll go. The most I tend to go out near exams is twice a week, again depending on how close to the exam I am.
I also have a big wall planner with everything written on it. I find this helps me to visualise when things are and to prioritise depending on the workload and the due date. This is a big recommendation for any one. I find if I have a project due that requires a lot of pre-reading/research, I’ll start that early and allow myself more time to do the reading and research, so nearer the time, all I have to do is actually write the essay. This is the best way I’ve found to stay on top of things. Planners didn’t work too well for me.
I worked out that by writing out when exams are essays are due, and also knowing what is needed for each one for example how much reading/research is required (I have one paper due that only needs one paper reading, where as I have another where their expecting you to read at least fifteen papers). I then spread the reading out for the bigger projects and aim to start writing by a certain point. This is 100% how I would recommend planning your academic year, it really helps me keep on top of things.