Finding the perfect balance between assignments and a healthy social life is difficult enough for undergraduate students, let alone those who juggle work placements on top of the two. Whether you are a nursing student required to undertake clinical placements or simply need to work part time to fund your degree, many students find the task of time management quite difficult and this can have a knock on effect on your degree.
Placements for teachers, midwives, nurses and a number of other professions may seem to get in the way of the true university experience (especially when your flat mates crawl in at 4am and you have to be up at 6) – but with our help you can balance both work and play effectively.
First up is to try and remain calm when your flat mates test your patience. We understand that living in halls whilst on placement can be stressful – you may not get the decent nights sleep you need to work productively the following day, but losing your head isn’t the answer.
University is about the experiences as well as the work, if you start to moan about your friends making noise when they arrive home at the early hours of the morning, you’re going to sound like their parents and this will single you out. Try to be more understanding, and expect the same in return, after all they’re not the ones who are on placement. Politely ask them to be a bit more considerate the next time they are out of a weekday, suggest they have an after party elsewhere so you can get the sleep you need. Then start planning the mad night out you will have the following week when you are back to timetable lectures. Everyone’s a winner!
We understand that some placements may last weeks, and the thought of waiting three weeks until your next big night out may dampen your spirits, but you’re forgetting that magical time of the week – Saturday! Some students are put off going out of the weekend because the drink prices triple, it’s busy and they slap a big entrance fee on your favorite club. For those of us that are used to £1 drinks and free entry plus free shot on arrival, this can come as quite a shock.
So how can you get around this and ensure a decent night out of a weekend without blowing your student loan? We have one word for you: Wetherspoons. Don’t be fooled into thinking this chain of pubs are only good for hangover breakfasts and Sunday lunches, drink prices are cheap and the atmosphere is great. Come the weekend, your quiet pub down the road turns into a mini-club without the harsh entry fee. Grab your friends and get a round of drinks in, we can guarantee you with free entry and four shots for £5, you’ll have a great night, spend a little and be ready for placement on Monday morning.
Even for the students who aren’t on placement, big nights out can be tiring and can affect their degree. Remind your flat mates of that early lecture they have Thursday morning, then suggest Orange Wednesday’s at the cinema instead of a heavy drinking session. They’ll wake up refreshed and will thank you when they attend an important lecture they otherwise would have missed.
Other options to clubbing may be hosting dinner for some of your friends. We’re not ruling out drinking altogether; a curry and beer night will go down brilliantly with a few of the boys, or host an Italian themed night fueled by wine where you can get the girls together and catch up. Just because you have to be up early, doesn’t mean you have to be alone and in bed by 9pm watching Tool academy. Some of the best nights are had when it’s just close friends and few drinks.
Not that the following is something you can help, but being in a circle of friends in the same profession as you will make life a little easier. Fellow nurses/teachers/midwives will completely understand the stresses of placement and will be sure to come home silently on a night you have to be up early, just try to remember to do the same! Your mutual interest in your degree subject will give you lots to talk about, so in your first lectures, strike up conversation with your classmates, you might end up flat sharing with them in your second year.
Students can also look at how other young individuals rated similar placements here.
The most important thing to remember is time management. When you arrive, your first year at university may seem like the most stressful experience of your life, and that’s because, up until now, it probably is. However it only gets harder and being a fresher is the best experience you will have, so enjoy it.
Work hard, play hard, get the job done, and stay professional at work and we guarantee you will do well.
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