November 25, 2022, by UoN School of English

Balancing your studies and socials in first year

I do have to say that this is something even as a third-year student I have not perfected! The task of finding the time to work hard and put effort into your degree as well as enjoying the social aspect of university can be tricky…

But do not fear, I think that it is do-able!

The first piece of advice I would give is to remember that finding your feet in the university world does take time and finding and striking the right balance between studying and enjoying spending time with your flatmates and getting involved with societies and their socials can be a little bit overwhelming sometimes. But the thing to remember is that everyone will be feeling this way. It is completely natural to get stuff wrong and to perhaps prioritise a society social over reading an article for your lecture the next day. I admit I have done this, and I think that  choosing to go to a social event or to meet up with friends is perfectly fine and is a healthy thing to do.

Do not pile huge amounts of pressure on yourself to have perfected a work-life balance in first year. I think that first year is about exploring and growing both your studies and social life, but it can be difficult…

So, I have a few helpful tips to share!


Three students working together on a park bench outdooors

I think having the right mindset towards your studies helps with getting this balance between studies and socialising. I would say give everything a good go on your course. I think that the more you go to your seminars and lectures, your understanding and interest in your degree will deepen and new areas of your degree will be revealed. In my opinion first year is a time when you are able to explore and experiment with your degree. The university’s School of English department offers a variety of different areas, such as Old/Middle English modules, Drama modules, Language and linguistics and literature modules!


A group of people stand in a circle and cheers their wine glasses

It is so important you find time to relax and have fun whilst you are at university. I find that knowing I have a social event in the evening motivates me and keeps me going during the day when I am focused on reading and writing.

I would highly recommend if you were feeling weighed down by a certain tricky module and/ or reading, to organise to do something fun and light with your friends or go to a society that you like social event. It is so important that you do things you enjoy which are outside of you degree, they really give your mind a rest and instantly boost your mood!

The thing key tip I think to getting a healthy balance between your studies and socials is organisation and time management.

Helpful tips for you to use to strike that balance

  1. Speak with and keep informed your personal tutor: If you feel you are struggling generally with managing your studies and social life your personal tutor is a great resource and a friendly face and voice. They can also signpost you to help that is available and other sources of advice and support.
  2. Make a weekly timetable: Before the beginning of the new week sit down and write a weekly timetable. Grab yourself two different colour pens (one for studies and one for your socials/socialising). Firstly, fill in you compulsory study hours and then jot down any socials you have that week in the other coloured pen. I find this a great time management tool as it visually allows you to see what is happening during the week. Moreover, the two different colours on the page allows you to see how you are spending your time during the week, helping strike that balance!
  3. Try to attend all of your lectures and seminars.
  4. You can say no to stuff: You have a choice whether to say yes or no to going out. But do not be peer pressured into going out, go if you want to!
  5. Don’t punish yourself: Make sure that you give yourself time to relax and unwind, do not be harsh on yourself it is important that you give yourself respite from your academic work. No one has the perfect balance between work and life, so cut yourself some slack.
  6. Have faith in yourself: You are far more adaptable and capable than you think, you will realise this at university!

I really hope that my advice helps you. All that is left to say is good luck and I hope you enjoy university (both the studying and the socialising!)

– Sophie Bryer

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