New Challenges: Balancing uni, work, life, and everything else

Study plan mind map

Sometimes it isn’t just a three-way split between work, study, and social life.


You just started uni.

You also have a job.

And up until a few weeks’ time, you (might) still have a decent social life, or have plenty of time to enjoy your hobby/sport/craft etc.

You (might) also have just moved out of home by yourself or with some friends or roommates.

For someone freshly out of high school, and whose only experience living out of home might be schoolies, balancing uni, work, life, and everything else can be stressful.

Assessment deadlines can creep up unnoticed while you are at work earning money to feed yourself, pay the bills, and purchase uni equipment. That’s not to mention the other expenses you have, like petrol or bus and train fares, clothes, doctors’ visits, or even seeing a movie.

You might be feeling overwhelmed with all this new responsibility, but help is never far away. Go see your uni’s counsellor – they’re usually a one-stop-shop for any problem you may have, whether it’s related to uni or your personal life. Pay them a visit especially if you don’t know where you can find the help you need – they can point you in the right direction.

Counsellors can help you sort out your head space.

Counsellors can help you sort out your head space.

A non-uni alternative is to call Lifeline on 13 11 14, which is an Australian organisation that provides 24hr telephone crisis support. They will give you immediate support and refer you to services in your local area.

If you are in less of a crisis and want to just track your spending and create a budget, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission website is a great budgeting resource. They also have an app called TrackMySPEND for Apple and Android, which is an easy way to keep an eye on your money.


MoneySmart’s TackMySPEND app.


Fortunately, I am still able to live at home, because a) I live close enough to uni to travel there and back each day and b) my dad supports my pursuing further study.

For a large number of commencing uni students, this isn’t always the case. You might not live close enough to campus for daily travel to be affordable/logistically sound, your parents might want you to support yourself, or a host of other reasons specific to your circumstance.

Although I’ve worked over the last two Christmas holiday periods, this is the first uni semester during which I’ve actually had a job. Deciding to break my third full time year of study into two part time years means that I am managing my commitments quite well so far – seeing as I only have three subjects over two days.

But I did have a minor freak out last week while planning this semester’s work schedule. Even though I’ve decided to work only Thursday and Friday to allow myself a free day for study each week, I also have to fit in skating training and competitions, exercising my pony, and time with my partner.

My study plan for semester 1 2015.

My planner for semester 1 2015.

After about an hour or so of mapping due dates and on exactly what days I’m going to get uni work and everything else done, I had calmed down sufficiently to realise that I will be able to fit in all of my commitments, as long as I stick to a strict work schedule and if I plan everything ahead of time.

Again, if you’re struggling to cope under your uni workload or stressing about something else, go see your university’s counsellor. They can either personally provide you with the support you need, or point you to someone else who is more equipped to do so.

Related: The Benefit of Organising
Related: Time Management
Related: Routines v Bad Habits
Related: S.M.A.R.T. Goals: S is for Specific


Until next time


Information and images sourced from:

Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). 2015. “TrackMySPEND.” Accessed March 4, 2015.

Base 51. “Counselling.” Image. Accessed March 11, 2015.

jono1001. 2012. “Study plan mind map.” Image. Accessed December 31, 2014.

Lifeline. “Lifeline Services.” Accessed March 4, 2015.—Information/Lifeline-Services/Lifeline-Services.


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