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SPS student voices and experiences
Productivity 101: Elia’s top time management tips

Productivity 101: Elia’s top time management tips

One of the biggest challenges new students find is adapting from their rigid school timetables to university, where you have seemingly limitless free time. Here, Elia explains how she manages her time. 

Generally, at university your academic rhythm changes. When I first came to Edinburgh, I was surprised to find out that a lot of my time would be spent doing independent work. Confronted with this new academic setting, I initially felt a bit lost with how to manage my time. Now I see this freedom as something to be embraced and taken advantage of. For me, and for most of my friends and classmates, the flexibility around time management at university represents an opportunity to develop professionally and personally, through part-time jobs, volunteering, internships, societies and sports alongside our studies. 

Job opportunities as a student

It is quite common for student to have part-time jobs outside their studies. In Edinburgh, there are so many different opportunities that you are sure to find something that will fit your needs and availability.

In my first year, I worked semi-regularly once a month at a vintage shop. This type of part-time job was very flexible, without many responsibilities or time constraints. As a first year student in a new city, my priority was to settle down, make new friends and explore my new home.

With Covid taking over most of my second year, I decided to avoid an in-person student job, and settled with working for some companies on freelance graphic design.

In third year, I decided to make a steadier income and take on a more time constraining job working as a Sales Assistant/Barista at a local store. While initially anxious about managing my time between work and university, I actually found that having a part-time job helped me plan my week, and made me more effective at working.

Internship opportunities

I study Sustainable Development, so it was important for me to gain professional experience in my field of study during university. As such, I chose to look for summer internships between every academic year. Here again I found a variety of opportunities, ranging from a week-long research internship at an environmental think tank; a two-month internship at a local small agricultural business; or an internship at a charity organisation. Internships are a really great way to engage with professional work and to discover what professional direction you want to go to after your studies.


During my time in Edinburgh, I have also spent a lot of free time volunteering. There are so many ways to volunteer in Edinburgh, especially when considering all the student societies focusing on charity work. Some of the most common ways that students I know have engaged with charity work has been through working in charity shops, cooking for shelters, or giving tutoring lessons.

University is the perfect opportunity to discover new hobbies and develop professionally – Edinburgh really leaves you with no excuse!

For more information on professional development, internship and work opportunities, get in touch with the SPS Student Development Office and the University of Edinburgh Careers Service. If you’re looking to give back to your community, there are plenty of student volunteering opportunities listed on the EUSA website

More posts from Elia about student life

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