Massey University CareerplaNZ

Career and student learning issues brought to you by Massey University’s Careers Service – New Zealand

Balancing act

Posted by John Ross on March 6, 2009

Recently, I used a post in this blog to publicise a series of ‘Ways of Wellness’ workshops that colleagues in Massey University’s Student Counselling Service are facilitating this year on our Manawatu campus.  Well, the first of these took place yesterday and addressed the topic ‘Balancing and Managing Life whilst studying’.


I thought that I’d use today’s post to outline the issues discussed in this session.


To begin, we looked at some of the reasons why participants had decided to study at the tertiary level, and at what they hoped to gain by doing so.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, responses included to achieve a university education; qualification and – within this – good grades.  In addition, answers included the development of self-confidence; a pool of great friends and a good social life; status and the enhancement of chances to earn good money and to get a great job.


Laudable goals but what did students think barriers might be?  Here, responses included the difficulty of managing study stress and financial concerns.  Furthermore, they included a lack of confidence and a concern that the choice of papers and programme might be wrong for the student.  Then, the fact that self-directed learning is hard and that the individual may be trying to balance study with a social and family life; other responsibilities and with work. 


As mechanisms for overcoming barriers such as these, the following suggestions were made:    


n      Keeping a perspective (and being keenly aware of where your thoughts take you)

n      Accepting there will be challenges

n      Build up informal and formal network structures of people within and outside of the

                university who are supportive of your choice to study

n      Be flexible

n      Dealing with ambiguity/uncertainty

n      Not giving up

n      Self-efficacy

n      Ask for help, and be aware of where appropriate help might come from – do so early too!

n      Staying passionate

n      Keeping focus

n      Getting over set-backs

n      Willingness to surmount obstacles

n      Courage


It was emphasised that – ultimately – students have a responsibility


n      For themselves

n      For their study

n      For what is created in their life

n      For the outcome

n      For being and staying in control

n      For their choices and consequences of these

n      For understanding the academic culture; deadlines; the need to be selective in the material read etc.


You can find out more about further ‘Ways of Wellness’ workshops here, and access a range of counselling resources here. 


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