The dictionary definition of juggling is:
- to perform the tricks of a juggler
- to engage in manipulation especially in order to achieve a desired end
- to handle or deal with usually several things (as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements
The latter two relate to me. I have mastered the skill to juggle the responsibilities of family life, my full-time university studies, a casual job and my ‘me’ time. This, at times, leads to feeling like the star attraction in my very own ‘family’ circus, and my 3 girls are the ringmasters ;)
I am sure that I am not the only one out there who feels this way at times, you long for the mid semester break, to have the chance to catch a breath just in the nick of time, only to start back again and sit through long nights of study before end of semester exams. You take a break and it starts all over again, a constant juggling act.
This mid semester break I had the opportunity to travel interstate for a ‘real’ holiday, at my family reunion. It was a challenge to prepare my assessment early to ensure the time away was really a holiday. But it definitely paid out in the end. I cannot stress how important it is to ensure a good study/family/work balance together with fun and recreation. I think I had forgotten what it felt like to just sit and do nothing, listen to the waves – we were at the beach – and just spend time with the family. I even got a chance to go quad biking on the largest sand dunes in Australia with some of my family. Best fun I have had in ages!
It can be so easy to get caught up in the stresses and deadlines of uni life. However, by keeping on top of things, or when necessary, knowing when to let things go, we can achieve all we need to without missing out on anything. There are occasions when I don’t get time to do the housework because an assignment is due. If I work late, I’ll order pizza for dinner, and if I have a kids soccer match to attend, I stay up late and study. It all balances out in the end. A bit of give and take, and a lot of quality time with the family is all it takes for me. My eldest daughter Chloe says she’d much prefer that I spend ½ hr doing something with her, then spending half the day in the same room on the laptop working. Quality time, not quantity. I wish I could say the same for work, lol. But there is nothing I can do about the time spent at work. Having said that, there are times I have to turn down a shift to ensure I am there for my family.
Knowing your priorities and planning your time will help you stay in control. I ask myself, is what I am doing now going to matter in the long run? Is it going to make my life easier or more difficult? Does it really matter if the dishes are not done until morning? When necessary, there are things I need to take out of my ‘juggling’ act to make my time as a uni student more successful without hindering my family, work and recreational time. What are some things you could take out of yours, even if only for a short time, to help you through when needed?