One of my biggest worries when joining the scheme back in September was how on earth I was going to balance a full-time job and 2 post-grads with my home life. As an extrovert – my friends and social life are very important to me and my wellbeing, plus I have a husband to spend time with too!
However I’m very happy to report that despite the pressures of exams, essays, travel, and work; my social and home life hasn’t changed negatively at all. To make this better, my work life is also really beneficial to my wellbeing particularly compared to my previous job! So here are my top tips in how to cope with the pressures of the scheme.
Know Yourself and Plan Accordingly
For me, seeing my friends and spending time with my husband are what makes me feel like I’ve had a good week. So, I plan time in my week to make sure I do this. So, whether it’s your friends, alone time, going for a walk, or taking part in a sport/hobby – make sure you have time in your diary every week that’s dedicated to the things that you love, and commit to it!
In terms of assignments, make sure you plan when you are going to work on them- for example I only like working on one at a time so if two are coming up at once I give myself a deadline for the first a couple of weeks before it’s due, to give myself time to work on the second separately.
Ask your placement for study time
As part of the scheme you are allowed to take time at your placement to study with permission from your placement manager. Make sure you ask for this! I’m very lucky in that my placement manager has had 3 graduates before me and was on the scheme herself so knows the pressures and therefore this was an easy negotiation for me- however if your placement isn’t so sure – argue your case. You are going to be no good to anyone if you are feeling burnt out from working 9-5, commuting, and then doing coursework on top of that- so make your case and negotiate.
Be honest and use the support available
If you do find yourself struggling at placement- talk to your placement/programme manager and ask for help. They’re there to support you- sometimes it can be really hard to swallow your pride and say things aren’t OK particularly when you want to impress in a new career – but if you do find yourself struggling it’s always better to be honest and get the support you need. If placement/programme managers aren’t available, there are also plenty other support options available such as your ALS group so you’ll never be facing it alone.
And finally, eat well, give yourself the best chance at good sleep and enjoy yourself both on the scheme and at home!