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How to spend your free time at university, living the YOLO life and trying many new and interesting things is an exciting decision for most students when they finally arrive. However, university can be really busy depending on what course you are taking. Going into third year, I can say it is tough at times with assignments, labs and tests coming up one by one which can make it particularly hard to breathe. But hey, let's not forget how to enjoy our university life. So here are my tips on how to balance your time with academics and social life so that you can score well in exams and still be active in the university community.

1. Set the right goals and plan your week ahead

Consider what you want to achieve in the year and commit to it. Make it sensible and realistic within your range, not something outside of your ability. Setting goals gives you long-term vision and short-term motivation. Try to get into the habit of setting goals not only for your academic life but other parts of your university experience as well.

Always plan ahead what you want to do in the following week. If you know an exam is coming up in two weeks, make sure you make some time to revise for it not studying at the eleventh hour which stressed you out a lot.

2. Resist temptations and know when to say "NO"

One trick is to use the short time gaps wisely to get some of your things done – this way you can have more time in the weekends or evenings for fun. Also, you need to know when to say no to your friends when you have an assignment or an exam that you haven't prepared for yet. Leave them and maximise your time on revision or assignments.

3. Choose the right living environment

My advice for fresh students is – it is better to live in student halls as you are not familiar with the city itself and it is easier to make friends. When you are choosing a place to live, remember to give consideration to your need of quiet and support for your academic goals.

4. Join a few clubs

Sports clubs, societies offer you a whole range of new experiences which will also strengthen your skills and confidence level. Join a club which interests you the most so that you will have the passion to attend their weekly sessions.

5. Spend your free time with your friends

As you progress throughout the university, you will gradually develop a group of friends. You can plan free time together going for a night out, having dinner or just a coffee break chat so that you can enjoy your social time and you're not just studying.

It's all about planning and finding the right balance that works for you. Hopefully my tips will help!

This blog post was written by Irene Chua.