Balancing Student Life and IQBar
Having given a brief overview of what it is like to be a full-time university student and a buddy at IQBar, I thought it would be useful to talk a little about how I make this work for me! As previously mentioned, juggling study and teaching takes a lot of planning and commitment, but it can be incredibly rewarding when it all comes together.
If you are a student considering working with IQBar, chances are you already own a diary. This is non-negotiable for me! I am obsessed with my diary, and it has taken me 3 diaries this year to find my dream planner that I enjoy plotting my weekly plans out in. I derive a lot of joy from using different coloured pens to record my weeks ahead, making various lists and notes. If you prefer not to keep a physical diary, I recommend using a calendar app on your phone.
I sit down with my diary to plan properly every Sunday, which is the day I designate to making sure my teaching availability is online. There is something refreshing about doing tasks on a Sunday, such as planning your week, having a long bath or tidying your room. It feels as if I’m resetting myself for the week! Planning for my week will usually involve having a quick look at the week after too. It’s unlikely that I will overwhelm myself by going anymore than 2 weeks ahead in the weekly planner of my journal; however I will plot out any special events like a weekend away or a holiday, just in case I forget and accidentally say I’m available on IQBar. It’s important to be on top of everything you need to do so you don’t cause any confusion with bookings and have to cancel a lesson.
I prioritise everything I need to do in a week and plan accordingly. I am a full time student, so of course the majority of my time must be dedicated to study. The first thing I plan in my diary is scheduled sessions at university. Everything else I do must fit around these hours, not the other way around. I have chosen to be here for 3 years, so attendance is crucial! Sometimes my lectures will intersect the main working hours at IQBar, which is 11am-3pm UK time, and so it’s important that I know which days I can work ahead of time.
Since there are only certain hours we can work at IQBar, I will then go through day by day and choose the hours I can teach. I have to factor in the time it takes me to travel from home to university if I am teaching before a lecture, and will leave myself half an hour from one appointment to another. Besides from this, I will try to make myself available for as many hours as I can to maximise the time I have.
Going to your timetabled sessions at university is not enough: of course you need time to study independently too. I spend a lot of time in the library either on my own or in groups, doing the readings or writing essays. No matter what degree you do, inevitably you will need plenty of time to keep on top of your course work. Since I can do this any time, it comes after booking IQBar teaching hours. I try not to work too late, as these days can be very long and tiring, but I will try to schedule longer sessions to maximise my time in the library. The amount of time I need to study is always a lot, however at times when I have a presentation, assignment or exam; I find I need even more study time. This can sometimes impact the amount of time I have to teach. For example, in May this year I had 4 exams which meant I taught very little, but once I had finished university at the end of May, I taught for the whole of June. Summer is a great time to bulk up your work hours for IQBar, especially since a lot of the breadies have finished school for summer too!
Once work and study have been planned out, I can then work my personal life around these. A work-life balance is essential to ensuring you actually do the work well! I enjoy yoga, walking, reading and exercise in my spare time, as well as going out for coffee, food and drinks with my friends and family. I can enjoy doing these things more knowing I’ve achieved everything at university and IQBar during the week. I thoroughly enjoy my course and teaching, but I have to make sure I check in with myself and relax. As you can see from my diary, I tend to leave my weekends free. I organise my weekdays so thoroughly, it can be nice to have two days of spontaneity!
I hope this encourages any students considering applying for IQBar to see that it really is possible to do both! The hard work and organisation is worth it!
Written by Molly Clark, a Buddy and full-time History of Art student with the most organised diary on campus!