We’re sure you’ve heard the saying:
While there’s some truth to this, we think there’s a better way of looking at time that goes beyond money.
Your time at uni
Ask former uni students and many will say that university was the best time of their lives.
This is often because of the relationships you make and the lifestyle you get to live while being a university student.
You meet lots of new people, some who will end up being friends for life.
You may have romantic relationships - some turn out well, others not so much, but all leave you with some unforgettable memories.
You have so much free time.
If you went to university right after your A-levels then It’s the period of your adult life when you probably have the best combination of:
Free time → lots of it
Energy and ability to do things → lots of it
Responsibility → not much at all
What time really represents
Many people think money is the most important resource in the world. “Money makes the world go round” isn’t a saying for nothing.
But we agree with these words from Robin Sharma:
Why’s that, you ask?
Because what time really gives you is OPTIONS.
Think about when you have lots of plans on a day and there’s no free time. Because you don’t have time, you can’t choose what you want to do outside of those fixed plans, so you lack options.
Now think back to the summer before you started uni. You had loads of free time, which meant you had lots of options for what you could do. We’re sure some of you:
Got a summer job
Went to a festival
Took a trip abroad
Spent time with friends
Caught up on a TV show
All of these are options, options you only had because you had the time to do them.
And at uni, you also have loads of free time that, if you make the most of it, could be used to do things to improve your life and outcomes.
So what should you spend your time doing?
Don’t worry, this isn’t about to turn into a lecture about what you should and shouldn’t use your time for.
Only you can decide what’s the best use of your time, and all of the above can be great things to do.
But here are some suggestions of other things you could do with the free time that you have.
Of course, make sure you prioritise your studies while you’re at uni - that’s the reason you’re there, after all! But once you’ve done that you could:
Friendships you make at uni could be the most important ones in your life, so make sure you prioritise them. Your time never should become “all-productive” - you’ve got to have time for relationships too.
Walking, sports clubs, gym, whatever it is - this is a key part of the wellbeing tripod, after all.
Upskill by taking a course
The free time you have while at uni could be put towards gaining skills, knowledge and experience doing something that will help you in your life beyond university.
Whether this is learning to code, public speaking skills or something else, there’s so much out there to help you develop yourself and your possibilities - and lots of it’s free!
Earn money with a part-time job
If you’re not already working alongside your studies, you could look at part-time jobs.
Working in hospitality or retail is common for students, and your university also likely offers part-time opportunities that work around your studies.
Here are 5 other ways to make money as a student.
Is there a cause you strongly believe in? Do you want to do good in the local community?
Volunteering for even just one hour a week could really contribute towards a cause or project.
This Gov.uk page lists lots of places to find volunteer opportunities.
Reading is one of the best ways to learn new skills and open your mind to different perspectives, which can help inform your own thinking.
Whatever you’re interested in, there will be dozens of books about it.
Here are 9 of the best personal finance books to help you learn more about money.
Work on a side hustle/business idea
Your younger years are the best time to take risks in terms of work - you’ve got less to lose and more time to recover if anything does go wrong.
If you’ve got a business idea or want to try to earn some money on the side, why not dedicate some of your time to working on that idea?
The worst that can happen is that you learn loads from the experience.
You can learn about the skills needed to be an entrepreneur here.
On top of all these things, you also want to spend time:
Building your community
Exposing yourself to the world and different experiences
Building your soft skills
When no amount of time is enough
Lots of students work to earn money in their spare time just to cover their living expenses.
But sometimes, no matter how much time you have, you still can’t earn enough to cover these costs. And you’re not able to work more hours without jeopardising your studies or putting too much stress on yourself.
In this case, it’s best to look at other options for funding, even if they’re just temporary.
This blog has lots of options to help if you are struggling financially.
So, time really can = money - people pay to save time every day, and businesses that save people time can make big money.
But ultimately, what both time and money really represent are options.
Having time gives you options because it means you can spend time doing what you want or love or need to do to take the next steps in your life or career.
Having money means you won’t have to worry about things as much and you have more power over what you do and don’t do.
You won’t ever be able to get time back - so whatever you do, make the most of it!