Rosie’s take on… Being a busy uni student
I remember once being asked what my secret was, how I managed to balance work and uni and still have time to do the things I enjoy. It’s time for me to reveal my secret.
You know in Harry Potter when they’re in third year, and McGonagall gives Hermione that time turner so that she can go to all the classes she wants to take? Well, I have a time turner. So for 3 years I would go to class and do all my uni work, then time-turn my way back in time and go to work. Ta da! Magic.
Unfortunately, I do not live in the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Instead, I had to figure out some ordinary, muggle way of balancing the work and uni juggling act. You wanna know the real secret, kids? I worked bloody hard.
It really kinda annoys me when people assume all students are lazy and broke and sleep all day.
For the last 3 years I’ve been (for the most part) anything but lazy, and I definitely haven’t had a lot of sleep. And I have always worked enough to ensure I’m not broke (I lived independently for 4 out of my 6 semesters and still managed to go shopping on the reg and spent waaay more money than necessary on food).
Obviously everyone has a different experience at uni. But for me it would have never been an option for me to give up other parts of my life for my study. I worked five days a week for my entire degree. I took on a fairly stressful role at work that meant that I was up freakishly early most mornings, and dealing with the ins and outs and sole responsibility of payroll, cash management and various other things that you kinda don’t want to go wrong. I was at uni from the ages of 17 to 20; i.e. optimal partying years. And I sure didn’t miss out on any of that. I partied hard probably more weekends than I stayed in; ain’t gonna miss out on the ultimate partying years just because I’m trying to set up my life for when I reach adulthood. I had a boyfriend for a while and obviously committed time and energy to that, and then maintained other aspects of my life through a stressful breakup. I moved out of home when I wanted to (twice) and didn’t let my studying be an excuse to still live at home. I had various other things that I committed time to as well as uni and work. I visited my family often when I wasn’t living with them, I committed a lot of time to the gym. I never failed a single unit, never had to repeat anything. On my busiest days during my degree I would be up at 4am to go to work, and be out at uni until past 7 at night.
I’ve honestly had people say to me that I manage to achieve more than them because I “have more time”. The thing about being really busy, which I have been for the last 3 years, is that you have to make things happen. If I was going to accept that I was ‘too busy’ with work and uni, I wouldn’t have gotten anything done over the last 3 years; I wouldn’t have partied, I wouldn’t have had a social life, I wouldn’t have moved anywhere in my job. But instead, I’ve achieved a lot. That’s because I made it happen. I am a master of time management and multi-tasking. I am a passionate lover and supporter of power naps. I can literally set my timer for 5 minutes, close my eyes, and get a full 4 minutes 50 seconds of uninterrupted slumber when I’m in need of a quick nanna nap. It’s like that old saying, ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person.’ Maybe it’s not that I have more time, but that I know how to use my time effectively; or rather, I had to learn how to. “I don’t have time” isn’t an excuse that sits well with me. When I joined the gym I was going like five or six days a week, while still going to work five days a week, and uni. You make time for what you want, so instead of saying “I don’t have time”, consider saying “it’s not a priority”. If that doesn’t feel right, then maybe you should make time for it. There are many reasons why students decide not to get a job while studying, and I’m not saying some of these aren’t valid reasons, but ‘I don’t have time’ isn’t one that I easily accept.
So here I am to encourage anyone wanting to study but not wanting to have to live like the stereotype. If you want to work and go to uni, you absolutely can. You just have to be ready to work and be busy. But if you want it to, the time you spend at uni can be extremely successful and high achieving years, beyond just the success of getting a degree. At the end of the day, who is an employer going to be more interested in hiring, the person with a degree but a huge gap in their resume, or the person with the same degree but continuous work experience and the proven ability to multi-task? If you wanna do it, you can do it. You got dis boo.
Somewhere along the line there has become this unspoken rule, a stigma attached to saying you’re proud of yourself. It’s seen as cocky or braggy if you admit you’re proud of yourself for something. But you know what? I am proud of myself. I am proud of how effectively I have managed my time over the last 3 years. I am proud I got through my degree without having to repeat anything. I am proud that I have been beyond busy for the last 3 years, I am proud that I now have something to show for it. And I am proud for the plans I am making for the next step in my life- it’s going to be a goodie. So there is no magic trick (we must accept the muggle reality).
I know people who weren’t students and still didn’t achieve much over the last 3 years. So no, not all students are lazy. Just like not all ‘adults’ are productive.