Studying at university is stressful, and requires some sacrifices along the way. Some students might have to skip breakfast so that they can get to class on time. Others might have stay up late at to finish an assignment before the fast-approaching deadline. Oh, the list goes on!
There are other students, however, who sacrifice even more. One such student is Tina Coverdale.
Tina, who describes herself as a shy but outgoing person, is a Bachelor of Media student here at UTas. She works full-time at Connor at Eastlands, and also does freelance work with public relations companies and brands, which she hopes to make her full-time occupation after completing her degree. Living out of home and not eligible for Centrelink funding, she has to work full-time to support herself.
Most nights after work, she studies till late as she doesn’t have the time to do so during the day. Sometimes, ‘late’ means not getting into bed until four o’clock in the morning, but she does an incredible job at hiding it. She always wears her long blonde hair neatly; her make-up masks any and all signs of sleep deprivation; and she constantly takes great care with her choice of outfit every day. Despite her shyness, she’s always bubbly, constantly smiling, and frequently jokes and laughs. She also doesn’t dwell on or complain about negative things too much. But a constant struggle with stress and anxiety makes Tina’s life more challenging.
“When things get a bit too much I get really, really, really stressed,” she explains. “And when I get like that, I literally can’t get stuff done, which makes things worse for me. It happens a lot when I’ve got a lot of assignments due at around the same time.”
But she says that she’s good at sticking to her routine. She knows that in the long-run, it’s all going to be worth it.
“It’s like short-term pain for long-term benefit,” she says. After pausing for a moment, she adds jokingly, “Plus I spend a lot of money on coffee!”
I tell her that other people in similar circumstances as her would probably enrol in off-campus units to make things easier for them. I ask why she hasn’t done this herself.
“I would if I could,” she says. “I actually do my sociology classes off-campus, but UTas actually doesn’t offer journalism units that are by distance. So I come in for the tutorials, though I have to take three days off work a week. I technically don’t have to [the tutorials are not compulsory], but I find that I do better if I do go to them.”
For Tina, doing everything online is a very lonely experience.
“Discussion boards are faceless,” she says, “whereas when you can actually bounce ideas off people in tutorials, it’s really engaging.”
Tina’s advice to others in similar circumstances as her is this: “Make time for yourself. At the end of the day, you are paying for your degree. So you really need to focus on it. Also, don’t do four subjects every semester if you’re working full-time as well. You need to create some sort of balance that works for you. But the most important thing is to just look after yourself!”