As of October last year, I officially became a second year student at the University of Nottingham.
I’d moved out of my sleepy little town in Lincoln the year before, I’ve now got a house with three of my friends, and live next right next to one of the most beautiful campuses in England. And although university isn’t always the riotous, exciting rollercoaster ride I’d dreamed it to be, it has definitely inspired me to do some amazing things with my life, and was in fact the catalyst behind the creation of my blog.
But, predictably so, university courses require a lot of work, which means a lot of late nights in the library, a lot of emergency coffee sessions, and a whole lot of typing to be done (if my fingers aren’t hopelessly crippled by the time I’m 30 it’ll be a bloody miracle).
Funnily enough, however, running a blog requires a similar commitment. Late nights staring at screens, emergency coffee, lots of typing, etc… But with the added fun of regularly updating your social media sites, keeping track of your analytics, organising photography sessions, and catching up on other blogs to keep you in the loop.
And, unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and things don’t always work out as planned. Unexpected assignments, social calls, sickness, set backs can all cause you to lose focus, and all of a sudden it’s been 6 weeks since your last blog post, and your Twitter account is sitting dusty on its proverbial shelf.
So, to help all you student bloggers out there, I thought I’d share my top tips on how to balance university and blogging!
1. Take photos in bulk. If you’ve got the time, (and the products), spend a good few hours taking all of the photos you’ll need for the next few posts planned, changing the blog props, the location, even the camera settings, to avoid all of your photos looking the same, and then they’re there whenever you need them! This also means that you don’t have to cut into studying or essay writing days, as your blogging to-do list is already checked off for the week!
2. Make the most of every spare minute – I feel like this is where my blog slightly tries to take over my life a little. I will blog everywhere. I’ll be typing on trains, editing in lectures, I’ve even been caught scribbling down blog post ideas on the back of leftover receipts at work.
3. Plan, plan, plan! I’m currently using the absolutely gorgeous personalised SimplyNotebooks weekly organiser to keep my life in a little bit of order, and I cannot tell you how much it has helped me. Whilst I know myself well enough to understand that I’m most likely never going to have the kind of lifestyle which can guarantee a blog post every day of the week, or even on the same day every week, it is always helpful to check in to see which days I am actually free to write one, or to upload a pre-written one. In this, I’ve written down everything – birthdays, social plans, dentist appointments, lecture screenings and TV shows I want to watch. I even write down the plans my friends have made for those days so I remind myself to ask them about them later on in the week…Yes, I’m a massively organised nerd, I know, I get it.
4. Don’t over-exert yourself. This tip is one I really could’ve used in December. Christmas is a busy time for almost everyone, blogger and student alike, but trying to do both, as well as running a society, guest blogging, Christmas shopping, planning my trips home and holding down a part time job just proved to be too much, and I ended up just wearing myself down and making myself ill. Don’t ever be afraid of asking for help if everything gets a little too much – the readers of your blog will be there when you come back, your university tutors are there to help you manage these stresses, your friends will understand if you can’t always hang out all the time, and anyone who would prefer you to be sick with stress than cancel an appointment is a person you really don’t want to be working with anyway.
5. Remind yourself of why you are doing this. Whether you’re a beauty blogger, a Geography student, a baking vlogger or the President of the Harry Potter society, pressure and work can sometimes get a little bit too heavy, and it’s always good to take a step back at times, and remind yourself of exactly why you chose this path, or this role, and to remember the excitement you had when starting out. Your blog is still that same terribly written and poorly photographed URL you started out all those months and years ago, that you were so excited to start and had so many ideas for in the beginning. Now it’s something so important and incredible in your life, and yes it can cause you a couple of sleepless nights and tired fingers and heavy lidded eyes, but the dream is still there, and it’s nice to be able to breathe a little of that original excitement back into whatever project you’re trying to complete.
Juggling commitments is a skill I’ve never quite been able to master. I seem to just amble from one thing to another and if I turn up on time, with matching shoes, and hair that isn’t plastered halfway across my face, I’ll deem it a success. But hopefully, when it comes to balancing university and blogging, these tips might’ve helped just one of you! Or even inspired you to start your own blog whilst studying, as proof that it can definitely be done, and is so so much fun, I can’t begin to describe it.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly different style of post and have an absolutely amazing week!