Student Life Hacks to Survive University (Studying Masters)

Hi friends!

For today’s blog post, I decided to write about something a bit more personal and relatable to most of you. If you just stumbled upon my blog, hi hello my name is Stephanie and I am a journalist graduate from Sydney, Australia! I blog about fashion, beauty and lifestyle related topics. You may know me as @stylesteph_ on Instagram where I post almost daily content.

Even though I am only 22, since going straight from high school to university and graduating a 4 year communications degree all whilst working various jobs, I feel as though I have quite a few advice on balancing study, work and a (somewhat) social life.

But before I go into the advice giving part, I’ll give a quick (and hopefully interesting) summary of my 4 years since graduating school and venturing into the real world.

My first proper job since graduating was as an English and maths tutor at a coaching college nearby. This was at the time I first started my journalism degree and was working 2 days a week and a total of 6 hours total. It wasn’t much in terms of working hours but I did have to dedicate a lot of my time focusing on my student’s and making sure I give it my best every single lesson.

Being a fresh young adult, I soon realised that my current job wasn’t enough to sustain my spending habits (transport, shopping, food and more food) so I applied to work in retail! I landed my first retail job working as a beauty consultant at Benefit Cosmetics in Myer. Working in retail really changes you as a person, you learn the value of patience and being in such a fast paced environment, I really had to learn to be flexible. It was super fun and I loved interacting with the customers and most of all playing with the make-up. Working in retail is probably one of the most convenient jobs whilst you are a student because the times were pretty flexible and the time and a half or double rate pay day’s were amazing!!

After working 2 and a half years in retail in the beauty department (including Mecca Cosmetics), I decided to work somewhere that was closely affiliated with my course.

My next job was working as a receptionist/social media manager for a small hair and beauty salon. It was a small close knit team that catered to high end customers in luxury hair and beauty appointments at a beautiful location overlooking the Sydney Harbour. Working in a private and famly-owned business was a compelte 180 to working in corporate giants. It definitely had it’s ups and downs but I tend to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. (However, if you want to know more about the negatives of working for small companies, LIKE this post and I will write a more detailed blogpost about my experience).

And now we reach 2018, as a fully fledged graduate student who is studying a Master’s of Legal Studies whilst working part-time at a PR firm. I am so proud of what I have accomplished and my new role. Working in PR is something I envisioned doing since my first semester at uni. (Again, if you want a detailed blogpost on what it’s REALLY like to work in public relations, or tips and tricks on landing your dream career in communications, do let me know!) I am working 3 full days as I cut back on 4 days a week because Master’s is so content heavy and I don’t want to just go into this 2 year course gliding through. I work a total of 21 hours a week and study 5 days a week attending night-time classes. It is definitely a lot but I found out this year that I’m a type of person who, if I enjoy it, the number of hours I work on that particular topic doesn’t fatigue me.

With all that being said, let’s (FINALLY) get to my top tips on how to balance work and a social life whilst at university.


  1. Know what’s important and dedicate time to those first!


You probably have a million and one things to do and instead of focusing on what to get done, you probably feel like you’re way over your head and end up binge-watching Gossip Girl for the 5th time (guilty)! When you do get inundated with work and university priorities, I find it best to focus on one thing at a time, starting with deadlines. It’s so much easier to priorities when you have a specific time and date of when everything needs to be finalised. Even spending 5-10 minutes each morning setting out what you need to do and what’s due so that you have a goal to work towards will definitely help in eliminating your massive list and ease with your quarter-life crisis!

2. Invest in a planner!

My planner has LITERALLY saved my life in more ways than one! It is my number one tip that I give and I’ve even convinced my boyfriend and now he’s an avid list-taker and writes down everything he needs to do and plans out his life on a monthly basis. I normally plan out all my assessments that’s due throughout the semester and highlight it all down as soon as I get my subject outline. That way, I have a clear knowledge of when everything is due instead of worrying about it last minute. This also prevents forgetting any assessments because the worst thing you can experience is finding out ON THE DAY that you have a report/quiz due. I also write down work related events and meetings so that nothing clashes and I’m able to have a social life without it colliding with my top priorities.

3. Find something you love to do (and do it often)

There is nothing more therapeutic than spending a good solid hour or a few minutes on doing something you love. This can be anything from cooking, reading a good book or your favourite magazines to physical activity. Obviously, I love blogging and reading online content in my spare time but I also try and incorporate doing something physical and getting away from social media.

4.  It’s okay to say no

An advice I still need to learn to do… it’s completely fine to say no to things you don’t feel like doing, events you’re just not into and so on. As my uni schedule is so demanding of my time including all the readings I need to complete every week, I’ve had to learn to say no to social events because in the long run, it’s just going to be harder for me to catch up and risk falling behind. However, as one of my favourite real housewives of Beverly Hills, Erika Jayne says, you also need to learn to say yes when new opportunities come up!

5. Communicate with your family/friends/loved ones your plans and goals for the upcoming future!

Having a solid support network of people who you love and trust is everything when it comes to surviving university, work and a social life. I always find it helpful when I tell my boyfriend what I’ve completed on my daily/weekly to do list. It doesn’t have to be that detailed but just saying everything out loud, what you want to accomplish and your long term goals will help you establish what you want out of life. It also gives you that extra boost of motivation and the positive energy you receive (and give back) is super rewarding. It’s important to let your loved ones know where you are in life, and it also bridges an understanding of maybe why one person is feeling stressed that particular week, and just providing that moral support.

Now it’s YOUR turn! What are some of your ultimate tips on achieving the perfect work and life balance whilst at university??

Leave a comment down below ☺

Thanks for reading!


Stephanie xo





  1. It can be sometimes hard to maintain social life while being a full time student and work at the same time, which is something with what I am struggeling right now but one of my tips is to work hard during the week and then enjoy time with friends on the weekends. I like your tips and especially the one saying ”It´s ok to say no” which I think is very important word to learn in order to accomplish all the things we want. 🙂

    1. That’s so true! Especially so you don’t feel guilty when you’re out with your friends 🙂 xx

  2. Great article! As a uni student myself, I find tip number 3 absolutely relatable- Find something you love to do, and do it often. In the chaos of uni life, it’s easy to lose oneself, while striving for one’s goals. Well written and I look forward to more 🙂

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