The balancing act

Employers are looking for a well rounded CV - here are some tips on how to make sure that yours stands out from the crowd.

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Optometry is an intense course to study at university and a lot of hours are required to stay on top of all the new material. However, it is crucial for students to maintain a balance between working hard and doing other fun things that they love taking part in. It can be a very difficult balance to achieve and it is very common for people to struggle. Taking part in other activities is not only important for enjoying university life, but it is also a key aspect of the C.V. of a prospective employee to every optometry practice; they usually want to hire fun and interesting people!

I was really pleased with my first year results, particularly with the ophthalmic lenses module where I was top of the class (sorry for bragging)! Having studied for a medicinal chemistry degree previously at the University of Leeds, I had a good idea of what to expect at Aston and I knew how much work I needed to put in. In my mind, my plan was (and is) to try and minimise tempting but useless activity such as trawling through Facebook for hours-on-end, and also to keep reminding myself why I’m at university: to become a good optometrist. So that means doing lots of individual studying and preparing for lectures and practicals, and when I’m not doing that, taking part in my interests or relaxing with friends.

My main interest outside optometry is cricket. As the cricket season is moving into full swing in May/June we have exams which makes it doubly important for me to stay on top of my studies throughout the school year. Cricket is a long game too; our matches usually take up a whole Saturday and I travel a 6-hour round-trip to play, so studying intently during the week is imperative to allow me to enjoy playing on a weekend without stressing out to much about revising.

Last year during the winter months, a group of friends and I attended the local pub quiz every week. I found this a great way to enjoy myself at the end of a day and our rivalry with one team in particular ensured we would return every week. I found that routine helped me with the optometry workload. The quiz on a Thursday night, followed by playing cricket or watching football and racing on a Saturday afternoon were great ways to unwind and enjoy myself, while I knew that weekdays were the crucial period where I would learn all about interesting optometry things. Compartmentalising in this way is a massive help for me.

In sum, remember to make time in the schedule for hobbies, whatever they may be, and then do lots of studying in-between!

James Sutton
College Student Rep 2016, Aston 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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