I’ve often struggled with balance. I am a worrier by nature and the idea that I am graduating in a few short months has sent me into a blind panic. The Autumn term was one of the most wonderful but also most stressful I have had to handle so far.
I have a tendency to say yes to anything I can physically fit into my schedule. I’ve been so scared to turn down all the fantastic opportunities offered to me at university that I overloaded myself. This past term I have worked 20 hours a week at my part-time job at Waterstones which I adore. I have worked freelance as a check listener for Red Apple Audiobooks, listening to audiobooks and checking they match the text. I have become a student ambassador for the university, promoting higher education and talking to young people about university life. I released an EP which means I am finally making some money from my art. I started learning to drive. I became deputy opinion editor of the Galleon (the student newspaper). I finally wrote an 11,000 word novella I have been wanting to write for 5 years and handed it in as 50% of my dissertation. I have been published by Trash Arts, The Tab, Pugwash and The Galleon. I played many many successful gigs including a 50-minute set at the Student Union. I volunteered teaching children creative writing. I volunteered working at a creative organisation which puts on gigs, film and poetry nights as well as making films themselves. I help with their promotion, marketing, as well as performing live music and poetry, booking acts and planning events. All whilst writing for this blog and maintaining my own one. And did I mention attending university and handing in six pieces of coursework?
And sleep? I did manage to sleep sometimes!
By the end of the term I was, unsurprisingly, absolutely drained. I was running on empty. It wasn’t healthy. My New Year’s Resolution was, ironically, to simply do less. I need to learn to say no and make more time for myself. I am living an absolute dream at university, studying something I adore, surrounded by wonderful people I love and with every opportunity at my fingertips. Coming to university has opened an unlimited number of doors for me, even more than I could possibly imagine. I just need to start picking my door more carefully or I won’t have the energy to even get to the handle of the next one.
So I have said no, granted not to much, but I have done it and that’s progress. I am taking on less and allowing myself time to breathe and it’s doing the world of good. The Christmas break was needed so unbelievably bad but I took most of the break to just calm down, relax and spend time with family and friends. I am now feeling so replenished, ready to tackle whatever this term throws at me.
Uni has given me so much and it is the best thing I have ever ever done. I doubt I will ever have so many opportunities presented to me. I want to take them all with everything I have, but I am learning the importance of balance. It can’t all be work!