One great dilemma of modern living is how to strike that ghastly work/life balance. But for a student editor, it becomes a case of work/life/study/social life balance, and it isn’t easy.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a proven formula for getting all the work done. It’s different for everyone. For some, early nights and early mornings provide ample time for extracurricular responsibilities. Yet, for those of us who aren’t morning people, lie-ins and late nights become the best method of getting it all done.
What’s important, though, is that you’re either one or the other. It’s no good being a late-night and early-morning person, or you’ll soon end up being a very ill editor indeed.
When you’re multitasking every day, you really must work out a system for keeping it all under control. For me, there’s nothing that says organisation quite like a list.
Dull as they may be, a well worked-out list can help you prioritise your thoughts. And as you work your way through each task, the sense of achievement will spur you on to the next bit. Before you know it, your list will be half-done, and the remaining bits don’t seem too bad at all.
A list also provides some much-needed structure to your work. If you know you’re committed on a particular day to, say, an essay you need to hand in, you’ll find it much easier to isolate your student head from your journalist head.
Perhaps the hardest part about being a student editor is sharing out the work. You’d think that would be the fun part – bossing your team around all day – but if you really care about your publication then you’ll want everything to be just how you want it.
But stop. That can’t happen. Firstly, your team will be good enough to do it for you as long as you brief them properly. Secondly, if you take it all on, what began their lives as great ideas will end as rushed botch jobs. So learn to share your responsibility.
Ironically, this article is being written in the early hours after a long night of last-minute editing. The lesson here being that no matter how well you manage your time, your lists, and your staff, you’ll never get it perfect.
It’s inevitable that you will have to squeeze work in from time to time, so be prepared for this.
If you’re the type that likes to work set hours and then come home and relax, you can forget it. News doesn’t stop happening just because the office is closed. So you must flexible.
Fitting everything in
And how exactly do you go about fitting studies into this mix as well? With great difficulty, but it can be done. Keep reminding yourself that being the editor of a student newspaper is a terrific CV boost.
If you can display that you not only have the skills to produce your own work, but also the know-how to motivate a group of students to produce journalism, then you’re on to a winner.
You could even argue it’s as important as your degree.There are thousands of students leaving university with a journalism qualification, but how many of them can say they edited their student newspaper? Just a handful.
If you’re worried that all this extra involvement will affect your social life, it does. It opens you up to more people on campus then you could ever imagine. So, go for it.