So with a couple of weeks until the next semester begins, we’re all starting to think how we can make this one better than the last. How we’re going to excel at our demanding degrees, whilst simultaneously ensuring we can still create, participate in, and enjoy some quality theatre. (No more writing essays in the dressing room for me!) This is something, however, that is easier said than done. But fear not, because at BoxedIn we’ve got you covered. Here’s our 5 step method to balancing theatre and uni work.
So with the new year just behind us, it’s the perfect time for those of you of the organised persuasion to buy yourself a new planner. If I didn’t have my planner I’d feel like I’d lost a limb, it has a monthly overview,and a weekly timetable that allows me to allocate every hour of my day. This may sound a bit over the top, but it’s seriously brilliant. I’ve never felt more organised in my life, and it’s allowed me to feel on top of everything, even when I’ve had three sets of rehearsals in one day. Alternatively, if you’re a technologically minded you could schedule your week on the planner’s on your phone or laptop. In this day and age there’s really no excuse not to have a planner!
Know your deadlines
Now we all love theatre, but we’re in St Andrews for university, and it’s important we remember this. Without uni there’d be no theatre. Knowing when your deadlines are will help you keep on top of your work. You can plan your study around rehearsals, and if you know when your uni deadlines are, you can ensure they won’t clash with theatre deadlines by getting the work done early.
The key to getting work done early is learning to prioritise. We’ve all seen those pie charts or graphs on Facebook of people trying to do uni work, get 8 hours of sleep, have a social life, and fit in extracurriculars, and failing extraordinarily. Well, the picture is not as bleak as Facebook would suggest, the key to getting everything you want done is prioritising. Ask yourself, what’s my priority for today? Or even, what’s my priority for this hour? If you work out what your priorities are you will be more productive because you have a target to work towards.
Learn how to say no
Along with prioritising what you need to get done, prioritise yourself and say no to things if you think you’ve got too much on, or simply don’t want to do them. In case you missed the popular sensation that is Sarah Knight’s ‘The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’, there is a new trend towards prioritising yourself and shedding unwanted obligations so that you can redirect your time, energy, and enthusiasm towards things you really want to do. Consequently with less on your plate, and by doing things you enjoy, you will feel less stressed and like you have the right balance between uni and theatre.
Ultimately we all dedicate this extra time and energy to theatre because we love it! So when you’re in rehearsals be present and enjoy them, when you’re learning lines concentrate and use them as an opportunity to learn more about your character, and when you’re on stage inhabit your character, don’t worry about your upcoming deadlines. Use theatre as the break we all need and deserve, it will help you de-stress and in turn make you feel like you’ve got the balance just right.
We said we had you covered, and there you go. Armed with these tips you can start this semester confident that you will be able to balance uni work and all the amazing theatre you want to get involved with.