Work-life balance key for students
Weekends and work should not mix, according to Norm Hawkins, a public relations instructor at SAIT.
“I used to do a lot of work on weekends, but I realized it wasn’t helping my home life or my work life,” said Hawkins.
“Lately, I’ve been working to keep them separate.”
Between juggling his children’s soccer schedules, vehicle sharing and socializing, weekends are busy enough without worrying about work too.
“I used to think it would help, if a student emailed me at 12 a.m. on a Saturday, that a quick response shows what a dedicated, hard-worker I am,” said Hawkins. “But, I realized that’s just silly.”
Hawkins and his family try to plan their weekends ahead of time, looking at soccer schedules and social commitments mid-week, to ensure that they can get the most out of their weekends.
Sip Chen Liew, a full-time research assistant at the University of Calgary, feels guilty if he doesn’t work on the weekends.
Liew is from Malaysia, where he said there is, “absolutely no work to life balance.”
“If I tell my friends what I’m doing here they say, ‘are you on vacation?’ I’m not expected to do more than what I’m paid to do.”
Liew said he doesn’t usually plan out his weekends in advance and prefers to, “go with the flow.”
Even though he does answer work emails on the weekends, Liew said he doesn’t have a hard time disconnecting mentally from work.
For Katie McKinstry, a student in the dental assisting program at SAIT, disconnecting from school is possible if she’s keeping busy with something else.
McKinstry said school is her main focus, but she tries to make time for her family, boyfriend and friends.
“I wish I had more time to see friends and family on the weekend,” McKinstry said.
On top of school, McKinstry works three days a week, including one day over the weekend. She organizes her homework according to its due date, so she can make sure to finish the assignments due on Monday first.
McKinstry said she starts her homework first thing on the weekends so she can get it out of the way and use as much of the weekend as she can to relax.
She also said she plans her weekends ahead of time and tries to stay organized during the week.
Adam Schlinker, a student in the information technology program at SAIT, said he feels that workplaces and schools demand that their employees and students stay on time at all times.
Schlinker said he doesn’t feel like he has a good balance between school and life.
“School occupies more time than I’d like, but it’s still worth it, because it’s only two years.”
“I can enjoy myself on the weekends, but I’m still thinking about what I need to get done for school,” said Schlinker.
When asked if he thought there was anything SAIT could do to help students free up their weekends, Schlinker suggested building work periods into class schedules.
“I try to do my homework during the week but usually, that doesn’t work out. Ideally, I would get it all done during the week and relax on the weekend.”