Balancing free time and postgraduate study!

Olaya Gonzalez on balancing her International Event Management MSc:olaya

During the Easter break my family came from Spain to visit. After over a year and a half of living in England it was about time for them to see where and how I was working on my future and my personal development, both as a student and as an adult.

Countless times I asked them to come, and they always had some sort of excuse: your brother has football training and he is the only goalie or it is quite difficult to find a time suitable for all of us. I must add that we are somehow scattered all around: me living in the UK, my younger sister in Madrid, and my brother and parents in the Basque Country. Agreeing for an appropriate time is, indeed, a titanic task of indescribable pain. However, we somehow managed, but not without some sacrifices.

As a norm, I am a very organised person: I make lists of everything, I plan my week days in advance, I even need to know what I will be eating on Friday so my lunches are not monotonous. Borderline madness. Obviously, I transfer these – let’s call them qualities – to my student life. Studying abroad is fulfilling one of my childhood dreams, and I want to perform better than the best version of me.

Mix it all together and the result is a smoothie of pressure and exigency that drains out my energy. It is not healthy, I know, but this is what family and friends are for. Balancing free-time and a masters is not an option, it is a requirement. Most of the time students will see in those unused hours the words procrastination flashing with neon lights, but the truth is that it is compulsory for a good performance.

I am not suggesting that leaving essays until the night before or not doing the readings is the way to success, not even close. But I do know by experience that one day, or even a whole week during a break, fills you up with energy, clears your mind, and puts you in a better setting to face working again once the leisure time is over. It takes you out of the eye of the storm where you have buried yourself into, and brightens you up with fresh air. It feels like living in the very centre of a crowded, tall city that covers the sky and forces you to look ahead and ignore the sides, and then take a lovely, long, chilled walk in the mountains, the hills or the beach. I leave that to the taste of each one.

The point here is that my family’s visit disrupted my pre-made, pre-packaged, lists and time schedules. It absolutely messed my mind set up, making stress in advance because I genuinely thought that I needed every second of being awake to do readings, essays, literature reviews, the final project… The thought of seven whole days nowhere near a computer or the library resources scared me to a point where before their arrival I doubled the amount of time I was investing on my studying.

I have to emphasise that I am a study freak – please do not take me as the norm, because I am not. The thing is, that once the withdrawal syndrome passed and my system was clean of academic performance obsession, I enjoyed every second of my time with the Modern Family-like group of individuals that form my family. They dragged me out, and I could not have seen how important it was for anyone to take a step back and view life out of a bedroom desk on my own.

Without knowing it, they showed me the importance of having time for things other than just the postgraduate degree. Work will not disappear, and still will be extremely essential, but so is swimming up to the surface and breathing every so often. Surprisingly, I did not even think about the pile of readings I had yet to do. I was there, I was with my family, I was balancing life, and that was all that mattered.

They left, and I was able to write a whole essay in two days. One I am quite proud of, in fact. Guess it was the fresh air of our Seven Sisters walk.”

Unsung Heroes!

Dear Philosopher,

there are many unsung heroes in our school. People you would probably never hear about but PGmoments is here to change all that.  Today we are celebrating three unsung heroes that in one way or another have contributed positively to postgraduate students experience.


Merz at work

Merz, is one of those colleagues that turns dust to gold. And by dust I mean unorganized academic ideas into patterns of greatness!  She has been the glue that held together many conferences at SaSM on top of other research related tasks.  Some of those conferences directly benefited both our postgraduate taught and research students.


Linda B!

Linda, will help you out if you wish to use the CAS lab, she is also the wizard of supplies and can bake some “mean” cakes, or help prepare some great socials (such as the cheese and wine).




Alex at Hillbrow

The Hillbrow reception is the key location of operations relating to handing in work that can not be electronically handed.  There are many colleagues that are really helpful there but Alex will always seek to help you delivering a fantastic smile at the same time.  And on a busy, rainy day a smiling admin colleague is a welcomed addition to any postgraduate student’s day!

There are many other unsung heroes and I will try to find the time to tell you more about them but if you have one you wish to talk about, this blog is an open platform for any PG student to either share your ideas, views or praise someone that was really helpful to you.

Speak to any of the course leaders or Ioannis if you wish to contribute here, we would love to hear from you. And that goes to alumni too! Do you wish to share memories? PGmoments is here to host your little pearls of eras gone by!

Yours truly









Have a great International student week.

Dear Philosopher,

only one week to go, and this week is International student week.  There are a lot of you who come from other countries, I was once one of you… Excited and scared at the same time, I remember vividly the mixed emotions.  But forget your fears and cling on to the excitement, make friends and learn from each other. You never know the person sitting next to you may be your future business partner!

Now I know the weather doesn’t look too good for Monday and Tuesday and you may be thinking, where is this Sunshine coast they promised?  Do not worry it will clear out by midweek and we did have a glorious weekend.  Here is some evidence of that:

eastbourne from downs

Eastbourne from the downs

eastbourne from Downs 2

Eastbourne views from the Downs 2

wild bee chilling

A wild bee, is chilling sipping ouzo…er I know what I mean…

Life is good when you are a wild bee, or a PG student at Eastbourne! In case you are still unsure about the orientation week click here for more information.

Enjoy the week.

Yours truly