Transition from life as a full-time student to balancing learning with my employment as an auditor has been far from easy. Every second is spent on the move, accumulating new knowledge, and rushing home to attend online lessons. This cannot go on further, I tell myself.
Being the epitome of a workaholic, I imagined the immense gratification I could gain from achieving the mini goals I set for myself every day. However, the experience was barely satisfying, as it came at expense of a restless body and mind. Over time, I added minute changes to my daily life to maintain a better work-life balance.
If you too are a highly work-driven individual, remember John Lubbock’s helpful quote: ‘Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.’
Enthusiasm towards work is appreciated in the workplace, but taking it to an extreme can raise concerns. When there is an issue, I seek to resolve it as soon as possible, but being fresh in the field, this doesn’t always come easy. There were times that I looked at Excel sheets over and over again, attempting to input different formulas to find out the cause of the problem I faced. Fortunately, I was in a supportive team who understood my difficulties, and one of my seniors arranged a personal Zoom meeting to help solve the issue together. The experience taught me that looking at the same problem with an energised mind and fresh perspective was more effective.
From then on, I took steps to leave my workplace earlier, especially on days with lessons. I factored in time to rest between my back-to-back appointments. Every week, I allocated time to do something relaxing or therapeutic, such as an arts and craft project with my neighbour, spending mornings walking in the greenery and coming home to watch an episode of TV after a hectic day. This helped to motivate me as there was something to look forward to, adding vibrancy to everyday life.
I also had to learn about the strength of the mind. Life is not as serious as the mind makes it out to be. At times, we may overthink about repercussions of our mistakes, and this gets worse when we are pressured externally to succeed in life. Having a motivational figure in your life is essential. These people can form your support system, undoubtedly making life easier and less stressful. Due to immense stress about work performance and my own hopes to excel in my academic life, there were times I kept stress bottled up, stuck in a cycle of imagining the worst. It resulted in a few instances where I would abruptly cry, or my smile would turn into a frown. I was fortunate to have friends who are acute to my feelings, and I remember how acknowledging the feelings, coupled with a warm hug, lifted the heaviness in my heart. It’s okay not to be okay. Confide in someone you trust when times get hard.
As assessments draw nearer, I hope that fellow students at the University of London make time for ample rest, hobbies, and feel more optimistic towards life. We can get through this time together!
Esther studies Accounting and Finance in Singapore.