Time Management: Does focusing on fun mean your grades have to suffer?

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For the majority of students, finding a balance between having fun and maintaining decent marks is one of the hardest challenges university life has to offer.

The phrase ‘start as you mean to go on’ does not apply to university. Believe me: fresher’s week is probably the most stress-free fun you’re going to have if you wish to complete your degree with enough of your brain cells still intact for you to put them to good use in the future.

Don’t get me wrong, the fun doesn’t stop after Fresher’s week. The fun continues but the worry kicks in. The ever-growing worry, that if you don’t knuckle down and focus, you will fail your degree.

No-one wants to miss a night out, and a 9am lecture is never an acceptable excuse not to go out and have some fun. What if something amazing were to happen and you weren’t there to witness it? An unfortunate epidemic resides within Southampton Uni students, known as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which leads them to extraordinary lengths in order to ensure they are present whenever anything fun could be happening. Let’s face it, if you did stay in, you probably wouldn’t go to that 9am lecture anyway. Ah, the wonders of Blackboard!

I would say that it is extremely rare to find a student who manages to attend all of their lectures. No matter how good your intentions are, something always gets in the way: the alarm clock not going off, forgetfulness, laziness…

If you do contract the FOMO epidemic and manage to keep up the fun, then exam time will test you to the limit. There is a Facebook group which sums up student life perfectly, and applies to the majority of students: ‘I spent months studying for my GCSEs, weeks studying for my A-Levels, and days studying for my degree’. Oddly enough this Facebook group emerged during exam time, when the word ‘procrastination’ was the most commonly used word on everybody’s lips.

No one wants to look like a geek, but it’s probably a good idea to buckle down and learn something. Your FOMO will get pretty bad, but save it up until after exams and you’ll have an extra amazing time afterwards. I prefer essays to exams, as if you start them early enough you don’t have to compromise on nights out. However, my method is not the preferred one amongst Southampton students. Many choose ‘the night before’ option, staying up from dusk until dawn before a deadline. Surely this method is not only compromising your nights out, as you cannot go out that night, but it is also compromising your marks, as it must be very difficult to achieve a good grade in a space of just 24 hours?

However, the line between fun and academics can sometimes be blurred. Joining societies won’t help your overall degree mark, but it will be fun, and it will look good on your CV. Also, the majority of societies have socials, therefore increasing your number of excuses for nights out.

In summary, in order to feed your FOMO problem, start essays early and start revising early. You’ll be less stressed when deadlines and exams loom, and you will still be able to go out whenever the opportunity arises. Therefore, having fun does not mean your grades have to suffer… phew!

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Discussion2 Comments

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    1: If you don’t love what you’re studying, don’t study it.
    2: If you do, get into a habit of studying a set amount every week. I scored my best exam mark last year by doing the week’s study for that subject over a mug of hot chocolate every Sunday evening.

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