Balancing academic and practical responsibilities-Blog


Author: Mr. Dean van der Merwe

Department of Childhood Education

Faculty of Education

University of Johannesburg


When student teachers first enter university, 

they have to learn how to juggle their academic

and practical responsibilities. Being careful not

to drop the ball on either. Having been a student

teacher myself, and now working at a university,

I know first-hand how difficult it can be to find

the perfect balance. Fortunately, my experience

has taught me that finding such a balance is possible.


To make it a little easier, here are some tips for balancing academic and practical responsibilities:

Manage your time – do not procrastinate

Failing to plan is planning to fail. Do not leave

assignments and studying for the last minute.

Set aside some time to do work every day and

prioritise your tasks. It is effective to have all

your tasks on a calendar so that you can see

how much time is required for each.


Get enough sleep

Before I learnt how to manage my time

effectively, I have spent many nights

working until the early hours of the morning.

Getting an adequate amount of sleep is

part of a healthy lifestyle. After a good

night’s sleep, you will wake up feeling

refreshed and ready to seize the day.

You will have better concentration during

lectures and you will be more likely to

work on your tasks when you do not feel

groggy from a lack of sleep.

Make time for doing the things you enjoy 

Stanley Kubrick said, “All work and no play

makes Jack a dull boy”. It is essential to take

time out of a busy work schedule to do things

that you enjoy and spend quality time with

family and friends.

Do not be afraid to ask for help

Universities offer a range of services to

assist students who are struggling.

Find out which services your University offers and make use of them. Whether

you need assistance with academic writing,

meal assistance, tips on how to study, or

just someone to talk to, chances are there

will be someone at your University who can help.


Study effectively

I use to be under the impression that

effective studying is something that

requires a lot of time, until I figured out

that studying is not something that has to take days or even weeks. Try different       

study methods and determine which one

works best for you – use this method to

study for tests and exams. Be careful of

trying to cram a lot of information the day

before a test or exam!

Maintain a healthy diet and exercise

The long-term benefits of maintaining

a healthy diet and exercising have been

scientifically proven. Unexpected illness

can hamper your productivity. Missing

lectures and tests/assignment due dates

can create unnecessary stress. Make

sure you eat three healthy meals a day

and try to exercise at least three times

a week. And remember, breakfast is the

most important meal of the day!

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