When the going gets tough, the tough gets going

Tough times at university

By Lois Looker,

And breathe. This morning I handed in my second essay of the week and now I feel like I’m running on a high with the relief of typing something and knowing it won’t have any effect on my university grades (I would seriously hope). Amongst writing these essays I have also had a whole bunch of other things to do including; working at my weekend job, a great night out for one of my best friend’s 21st birthdays, going to dissertation meetings at university, going to the library to get books for my essays, as well as attending a seminar for a company that I volunteer for, before writing up a press release on the seminar and trying to get it sent out to newspapers on time for publication. And not to mention just trying to get to my usual classes at university where I have recorded attendance. Phew!

Now that I have a couple of days to recover I am looking at the next batch of assignments I have to do that will quickly be followed by exams. But I know that my diary is full of Christmas nights out with friends and work, a family birthday, a trip to Edinburgh for the day, opticians appointments, preparing a talk for the children that I volunteer with once a week, a meet up with friends, visiting family, meetings with the group I volunteer with, working weekends and, again, just trying to make it to classes. Something’s got to give.

I wrote a piece called juggling assignments earlier in the year about how to prepare for when you have a lot of assignments at the same time. In this case, I have a lot of assignments due at the one time, but I also have a lot of other things going on which could potentially affect my grades in the long run if I don’t remember to put my university work first. The question is, how do we fit it all in and what has to come first?

For me, there’s not much more that I can give up on. I have cut a lot out of my life in the past few years as university has become more and more demanding. This year in particular I have seen a lot less of my friends. It wasn’t unusual to meet up with my friends every day whether it was just getting a coffee, going shopping, having lunch at university, catching up at night and watching films or going out for a few drinks and now I’m pretty lucky if I get to catch up with my friends face-to-face once a week.

I have also given up on a lot of other volunteering projects that I was a part of as well putting anything I did for fun to the side as well. As much as it was difficult to make these decisions and sometimes going that long without seeing my friends makes me a bit cranky and down, I know that I can still text them and they’ll send back little motivational texts to help me get my work done. (Soppy I know but I still love ‘em.) Because I know that in less than a years’ time, I will be gone from university (again, I would seriously hope) and I want to know that when I get my degree that I really tried.

I can’t give up on everything such as volunteering because I need the experience for when I leave university to get a job and I can’t shut friends and family out from my life completely because then I would go mad and be forced to drop out of university anyway. It’s just about finding the right balance and being able to put your friends off for a couple of days until your assignment is finished or reducing your hours at work so you have some extra time to do some extra studying that you need to do.

What do you hate to give up when the deadlines pile up?