Study + Work + Life

January 26, 2019

When I told my best friend about all of the responsibilities I’m taking on in 2019, he immediately asked if I was crazy. The thing is, I probably am.

At the beginning of each new year, things always get more than a little bit hectic for me and other university students (at least in most German universities). It meant that the holiday season was truly over, and it is time to get our noses down and buried in the book - the winter exam season is coming.

For some reason, I’ve always felt that winter semesters are heavier, as we normally has more exams in the winter than we do in the summer semesters. This year, the opposite is true for most of my friends, as they all opted to take their elective courses in the summer, rather than taking half of it this winter as I have done. They also haven’t signed up for extra language classes, like I have innocently done (though I am hoping it will pay off in the long run).

Each semester I moan about my course loads, but this year it is different, as I also have two extra responsibility I have taken on.

First, I have gotten myself a part-time job. I have had one in the past, but gave it up once I realised I was working too many hours to still be able to study properly. This time around I made sure to curb it to 50 hours a month, which in theory, should still give me enough time to focus on my studies. I have seemingly forgotten how tiring working could be - even part time - and some days I found myself so tired, I couldn’t even think of opening up my lecture notes and studying for exams. I realise that this won’t always be the case, but starting a new job on the cusp of the exam season does seem foolish - as my friends have noted. So far I am enjoying the work, though it has nothing to do with my studies. The one thing I have a slight problem with is the early hours, which required me to wake up before 5
am and often meant I only get less than six hours of sleep before going on a full day of uni. I am not a natural morning person, in fact, I sometimes miss morning classes because I just couldn’t get myself
out of bed, but working early does mean that I won’t disturb my study and uni schedule too much.

Second, I have decided to take a bigger part on the local Indonesian Students Association by joining the committee. This meant a lot of meetings to organise and evaluate the events, taking part in the event themselves, and also the constant scheduling of when I next can fit the meetings in between my schedule.

These are new additions to my already established basic responsibility of maintaining my social life by way of depending time with my friends aside from the 5 minutes conversation before classes, remembering to reply to messages (and calls) from my friends and family back home, getting enough
sleep, and continuing on my intent on delivering good quality content on this blog, my Youtube
channel, and my Instagram. I would like to think that all these combined constitutes the statement that I have got myself a full plate this coming year.

That is, of course, if I take into account that it won’t all go away come spring, as by then I would
have to start working on my Bachelor’s thesis, the final exams on my remaining courses, and starting application for my Master’s.

It is hard to not be overwhelmed by all your responsibilities, and it can often feels as if there is a mountain of tasks you have to do yet no time to do them all. Everyone feels that way at some point in
 time; I feel that way. Sometimes when it all becomes too overwhelming, I feel as if the walls are closing in on me, making it hard to breathe and causing panic. For others, this feeling becomes too
much, leading to a panic attack. Having a good balance between your professional and personal
responsibility is something many strives to achieve, and whether they fail or succeed, one thing remains constant : big or small, sacrifices has to be made.

I am aware that to some people (maybe even a majority of people) these responsibilities are their everyday life. Some may even have more. But no one can do everything and be “on” for 24 hours without running themselves ragged. We are limited; we need rest and recreation. I have to admit, however, that I don't have the formula on how to lead a good and balanced life, as of right now, that means taking each hour (not even day anymore) at a time, with constant worry at the back of my mind of how I am going to accomplish all of the things I need to do without having a nervous breakdown or worse, a complete shutdown. I have found, however, that I worry less when I am concentrating on the task at hand. When I'm working or studying, I don't think about the other tasks still yet to be done. It is when I am "free" and before I go to sleep that I worry the most. Although I am still hoping through hard work and some way short of a miracle, I will be able to push through and come out the other side with some wins under my belt.


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