So yesterday was A Level Results Day, which means it’s now been four years since I received my A Level results and headed off to Cardiff University to study journalism. I remember being absolutely terrified before getting my results. I worked really hard throughout school and I had always wanted to go to university, not that that’s the right choice for everyone or the be all and end all, of course. But I’d always wanted to go to Cardiff and had always wanted to write and become a journalist so it was a huge deal for me. I was absolutely thrilled when I got in, and after a few months of studying and being incredibly homesick (you can read about it here) I set up this little blog and never looked back.
I’ve now been blogging for just over three years and continued to blog and post several times a week throughout my undergraduate degree and my masters. It’s been tough, I won’t lie. Juggling studying, blogging, part time work, training five times a week and having a social life can be exhausting. And blogging doesn’t just mean writing a post and publishing it – you have to photograph, schedule tweets, interact with other bloggers, keep your social media accounts up to date. There’s so much more that goes on behind the scenes. But it is absolutely possible to achieve top grades whilst continuing to blog, you just have to be really organised and know when to take time out.
1. Planning is key
I use my diary for absolutely everything. I write down when I’m going to work out, what university work I have to do, what blog posts I need to write, when I’m meeting a friend, and what shifts I’m doing in work. It’s honestly like my bible, and without one I’d be completely lost. Get yourself a diary, whether it’s a paper or a digital one on your phone or laptop, and plan out your week so you know when you have time to blog and when you need to prioritise studying. This really helped me to keep organised.
2. Jot down any blog posts ideas for when you have time to blog
Ever get a really good idea for a blog post and then when you sit down at your laptop a few hours later, you’ve completely forgotten it? I am so guilty of this, but now I write down every little idea that comes into my head immediately. Whether it’s on my phone notes or on a piece of paper or in my diary. Then I add the titles of the posts to my drafts ready to write up when I have time. This really helps when you have bloggers’ block too, as you have a number of ideas just waiting for you to show them some love.
3. Use blogging as a break
I used to feel really guilty about spending time on my blog instead of studying or working on an assignment, but it’s so important to take a break from uni work and I find being creative in other ways really helped with my assignments. Obviously if you have assignment deadlines coming up, or have an exam to revise for, that takes priority, but I liked to wind down in the evenings by commenting and reading a few blog posts or writing up my own, or by interacting on Twitter chats or working on my Instagram feed. It’s so therapeutic.
4. Photograph in bulk
So important, especially when you’re living in dingy student digs where the lighting is pretty crap and the windows are so small no natural light filters through. I used to go home a lot on the weekends and would take blog photographs at home in my bedroom where I have a big bay window and lots of light. This meant when I was in university I had the photographs to accompany each blog post all ready to go. In the winter especially it’s so important to make the most of daylight as the nights get longer and days get darker. Choose a set day to get your photographs all shot for the week ahead.
5. It’s okay to take a break
If you’re having one of those days where all you want to do is curl up in a ball and binge watch Netflix, then do it! Blogging is meant to be a hobby and a fun one at that. Don’t get yourself all worked up and worried about completing a blog post on time; your readers will completely understand and will still be there when you’re ready to blog again. I went through a phase whilst studying for my finals this year where I posted about four times a month, instead of my usual 3-4 times a week, and while interning I didn’t blog for two weeks. Life just takes over sometimes, and that’s completely okay.
What are your top tips for juggling studying and blogging?
Lots of love,