How to balance studying and extra-curricular activities

The key to getting the most out of your time at university, succeeding in your studies and having an enjoyable few years I think, is to find the right balance between your studies and extra-curricular activities.

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Everyone needs a little down time or an activity to help relieve the stresses of an intense course such as optometry. What I found helped me the most in my first year was being involved in extra-curricular activities. 

During my first year I participated in a netball club (socially rather than competitively), joined our optometry society ‘BOOSA’, was an active member of our university gym and continued to work part-time on the weekends. It’s fair to say it took me a few weeks to work out how best to manage my time, what to prioritise when, and how to keep as organised as possible. 

Personally, I think knowing there was only a limited number of hours in the week in which I needed to get on top of my university work, really pushed me to be efficient in how I studied and better enabled me to succeed in my first year of university. Obviously, with upcoming deadlines, assessments and exams, it is important to remember you may need to adjust your extra-curricular / work balance to prioritise your studies, after all this is your career you are working towards! However, overall I can honestly say finding the right balance made my first year of university such an enjoyable one.

Extra-curricular activities enable you to take part in other aspects of university life that you really wouldn’t experience within your own course, meet different people and really just give your brain a chance to recharge. It’s commonly thought that having a break from your studies, especially having a change of scenery or venturing outside for some fresh air has shown to increase your levels of productivity. 

So, I think, take regular breaks from your work and in doing so feel less stressed, more energised and see the positive effect on your studies. As the saying goes “work hard, play hard” and you will reap the rewards!

Gemma Stevenson
College Student Rep 2016, Bradford University

Our student reps are the first people we contact when we want to share key messages with students, and they are able to feed any news, requests, and ideas from their fellow students – and lecturers – back to us. Find out more about our reps.

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