Balance: Can law students really have it “all”?

There is a myriad of things students must balance. Academics, social life, part-time jobs, and many other commitments. Many universities recommend working 15 hours or less a week but with the cost of living rising this may not be appropriate for everyone. Many students will be put in the difficult position of choosing between financial security and time for studying. In this blog post, Harry offers useful advice on time management, and managing the often-conflicting demands of university, work, and personal life.

Balancing your time and succeeding

Time management is an essential skill that will help you concentrate your efforts on what is most important.

· Plan your schedule

· Make a weekly to-do list, prioritising work

· Break large tasks into smaller components

· Create goals and deadlines for projects

· Avoid perfectionism

· Honestly evaluate the time you waste

Stress keeps us focused and aware of things that need to be done. It can motivate you but when pressures are too intense or last too long, you may be in stress overload.

· Regular exercise is one of the best ways to keep stress levels under control.

· Use positive self-talk. Be optimistic – your thoughts, attitude, and outlook influence the way you view things. Adopting mantras like “this too shall pass” or “I can handle this” may help.

· Talk to a friend or loved one/ask for help. People who have a strong network manage stress better.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Your physical and emotional well-being has a major role in your academic, professional, and personal success. Take time to create and manage an active wellness plan.

· Exercise and sleep regularly.

· Eat healthfully.

· Make time for yourself.

· Enjoy and spend time with friends and family.

Managing the conflicting demands of university, work, and family

Managing the multiple demands of your career, university, and personal life can be challenging, but you can be successful if you keep a few tips in mind:

· Don’t worry about what you aren’t doing. Stay focused on the task at hand.

· Set a schedule for the week and get organised. Plan segments of time for tasks that need to get done. Experiment with times for you to study and how frequently you need breaks. Also, figure out the best place to study where your materials are accessible.

· You should plan a reward for sticking to your schedule or completing your work before a deadline.

· Remember that you are only human. Achievement is difficult if you are emotionally or physically drained. Planning exercise/creative activities into your schedule will keep you energised.

· Learn to say ‘no.’ Perhaps this is not the time to assume new responsibilities if you don’t have to. Just meeting your commitments at work, school, and home is enough.

Useful Resources

This blog post was created by Harry Thompson, a third year MLaw student at Northumbria University. He is currently working in a Business & Commercial firm within the Student Law Office. After finishing his degree, Harry is looking to obtain a training contract and qualify as a solicitor in a commercial firm. Harry also hopes to travel and visit Australia, New Zealand and Canada.