Playing the time management game

When I decided that I would take an English Literature degree instead of a Journalism degree, I knew that I would be playing the time management game right from the very beginning.

The choice between an academic and a vocational degree was a really difficult one. I had always had a passion for English Literature ever since I started at school, and practically all of the top universities in the UK offered it as a subject. However, I was pretty sure too that I was interested in journalism as a potential job, so should I have perhaps gone for a more career-orientated degree instead?

I decided not to, for a few reasons: firstly I thought a degree from the University of Warwick would be respected the most, and also, my year was the first to pay the higher tuition fee of £9,000 per year. I wanted to be sure that I took a degree which I would find useful for the rest of my life, and something I knew would be a worthwhile investment into my future. I knew I loved English, however I could possibly change my mind about a career in journalism, or hate the subject. I had also been told by editors at a couple of my work experience placements that they would choose an English graduate over a Journalism graduate, because English graduates had better writing skills. I could always take a postgraduate course in Journalism if necessary. English Literature won in my undergraduate degree choice.

As soon as I started at Warwick, I jumped into everything that interested me which was also career-focused, such as writing for the University’s student newspaper, the Boar, and creating news bulletins for Radio Warwick (RaW). I knew I needed to start building up my CV from the very word go in order to get myself ahead of the game, and when I had settled in a bit I started to look for new positions outside of the University too.

And now I am in the very middle of the time management game. Every day I spend at university, and even at home, I have to split between my degree and my work experience. Every time I write an article, I’m thinking of the next essay I have to write (such as right now), and every time I write an essay, I’m thinking about the next newspaper I have to lay up.

I struggle to split my time evenly, too: when I’m laying up the newspaper it will take over my entire weekend and prevent me from any useful form of study, and equally when I have an assessed essay I need to put my commitment to news aside for the time being. I often find myself rushing across campus at least eight times a day just trying to sort things out and go to meetings and lectures, and I fill every hour possible of my day doing (at least slightly) productive things.

I may have little time to myself and this seems ridiculous in my first year; with the commute to campus from Leamington Spa and the increased workload next year I know it’s only going to become a hundred times worse. But so far, I am absolutely loving it, and I certainly do not regret my decision choosing an English Literature degree at Warwick. I actually think that it’s the best decision I have ever made, so far at least.

However, I’ll have to keep you updated on that – when I have time!

8 thoughts on “Playing the time management game

  1. I’m going through the exact same thing – I definitely spend more time doing RAG and the Boar stuff than I do reading and working on my degree. I don’t regret it, at least not this year, but it’s a difficult game to play: luckily the payoff is pretty good.
    I look forward to watching you succeed, Sian. It’ll be one of the privileges of being at Warwick ;D

    1. Thanks for reading Andy 🙂 yeah I know what you mean, my degree it’s suffering – but so far it’s worth it! You too though, I’m excited to see what you have in store for RAG this year. 😀

  2. I think you definitely made the right choice, I found myself wishing I’d done English and then a postgrad in journalism or even just a course like PMA about half way through my Journalism & Media course… the gift of hindsight ey *sigh*

  3. I guess it’s just about timing. Whilst I escaped the £9k tuition fees I basically witnessed the economy fall down around me and print journalism go electronic. There aren’t many jobs in print journalism and you have to do A LOT more to be in with a chance of getting one of the few that are out there.
    I don’t regret doing journalism as such because that is what I want to be without a doubt, just if I could do it again I’d do English because like you say, it would have been a useful investment for the future and everything I’m doing journalism- wise now I reckon I could do without my degree…

    1. Hmm yeah, I guess that makes sense! Although the rise in tuition fees is a bit of a bummer I am grateful for it in a couple of ways – at least it made me think more carefully. Although I do work with print I mainly do stuff online, so I’m hoping that improving my writing style is the best way to go and then I’ll either take a postgraduate degree or find a job after I graduate.

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