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Zainab: A week in my student life


A student week with Zainab Jagani

This week began with a rainy start, however it being my first Autumn I found the different hues of brown, red, orange, and yellow leaves vibrant and enlivening. I usually start my week off by updating my weekly calendar. I use a white board for this as it is convenient to update and colour code. 

Time management is key in University because along with academic commitments and deadlines come social opportunities and clubs and societies. I try to allocate 40 hours a week for academic work, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, placement and study / assignment time.

During my free time I try to go to the University gym, The Edge. At the gym there is an option to work out individually or attend classes such as yoga, Pilates, HIIT, kickboxing and much more. Not only does this help with blood circulation it leaves me feeling refreshed and motivated. This is also a great way to make new friends and to build new skills.

In addition,, a virtual group/solo study platform helps me tick off my tasks and motivates me. With hours you can create study groups with people all over the world and have personal task lists. During breaks you chat with friends, and you can set timers for studying. Hours pushes me because my friends and I can see each other’s tasks and help /encourage each other to complete them.

Living alone requires you to keep track of your personal hygiene. I dedicate the weekends to running errands. I clean my room on Saturdays and buy my groceries on Sundays. I like cooking traditional curries and cook enough on the weekend to last me for the first few days of the week. The last two days of the week I attend placement in York from 9-5, hence I prefer to bake frozen foods such as breaded fish, nuggets, chips, or make easy dishes like burgers with stir-fried vegetables.

I enjoy going to Kirkgate market which happens to be the largest indoor market in Europe. You can find a variety of international foods, flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables and much more. Leeds is a very active city as there are always events taking place. For example, the Light Night Leeds festival which includes magnificent light projections, music, artworks, and spectacular performances.

Apart from University tuition fee and accommodation, there are other costs incurred. To help keep track of expenses, budgeting and taking advantage of student discounts helps to save money. I use an excel spreadsheet to help me visualise the input and the various outputs. I divide the outputs into sections, for example, transport, groceries, eating out, bills, course material and shopping. To save up on travel, I found buying a railcard is worth it as tickets are 1/3 % off and it ends up paying for itself in the long run.

On the weekends I like taking the time to unwind by going out for dinner, coffee or brunches with my flat mates or friends and have a good time.

To conclude, there is no perfect way of living in University, it’s a journey of trying new techniques to balance social and academic life and seeing what works best for you. I hope my experience and tips have proved useful to you.