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Education

Harmonising study-life balance in college: A couple’s journey

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BALANCING the demands of college life and personal relationships is a challenge. Imagine you
and your significant other both navigating the choppy waters of academics, deadlines, and a
relationship. It’s not just about finding time for each other; it’s about supporting one another’s
goals and aspirations while juggling your own.

This delicate balancing act becomes even more complex when you’re both striving for academic
excellence. Resources like EssayService become invaluable allies, offering assistance with
academic tasks, such as “write my research paper.” Yet, this is only one building block of a
healthy relationship. Let’s delve deeper into practical recommendations on how to find a study-life balance in college as a couple.

Establish Shared Goals
The first step towards harmonising your study-life balance is setting shared goals. This isn’t just
about agreeing to study at the same coffee shop. You need to understand and respect each
other’s academic and personal ambitions. For instance, if one of you is pre-med and the other is
an aspiring playwright, recognising the differing demands of these paths is crucial. Creating a
joint calendar can help you visualise each other’s important dates, like exams, rehearsals, or
presentations.

Additionally, don’t overlook the value of setting relationship goals. Whether it’s planning a
weekend getaway post-finals or committing to a weekly date night, these goals keep your bond
strong amidst academic pressures. They serve as a reminder that, even though college is
temporary, your relationship is a priority worth investing time and effort into.

Use Time Management Tricks
A key ingredient in balancing your studies and personal life is effective time management. Let’s
break down some practical tips:
● Use a digital planner and sync your schedules to avoid clashes.
● Set study boundaries and allocate specific times for studying and relaxation.
● Prioritise tasks.
● Stay on top of your tasks to prevent last-minute stress.
● Embrace downtime. It’s essential for mental health.

● Study together. If your subjects align, it can be productive and bonding.
● Keep each other informed about busy periods.
● Respect each other’s study time.

After implementing these strategies, you’ll likely notice an improvement not just in academic
performance but in the quality of your relationship. Having a structure helps prevent last-minute
study sessions from encroaching on your personal time.

Add Stress-Reduction Strategies to Your Routine
College life inherently comes with stress, which can seep into your relationship. So, it’s vital to
have stress-reduction strategies in place. Engaging in activities that you both enjoy, like hiking,
cooking, or attending campus events, can serve as a stress outlet. These shared experiences
not only help you unwind but also strengthen your connection.
Equally important is acknowledging when you need alone time. This might seem counterintuitive
in a relationship, but a 2023 study confirms that daily alone time to decompress or pursue
individual hobbies can significantly reduce stress levels. Balancing togetherness with
individuality ensures that stress from one area of your life doesn’t overwhelm the other.

Improve Financial Management
Let’s face it: college can be expensive, and financial stress can strain a relationship. Here are
some tips to keep your finances in check:
● Create a joint budget to track your combined expenses and savings.
● Seek scholarships and grants to reduce the financial burden of tuition.
● Opt for affordable date ideas like picnics, free campus events, or movie nights.
● Split shared costs to prevent resentment.
● Take advantage of deals available to students.
● Discuss long-term financial goals and steps to achieve them.
● Be open about financial struggles.

With a sound financial plan, you can reduce the stress that money issues bring to a relationship.

Navigate Long-Distance Challenges
For couples attending different colleges, the long-distance element adds a unique layer to
balancing study and relationships. Technology becomes your best ally here. Beyond the usual
texts and calls, try scheduling virtual study dates. Picture this: both of you on a video call, with books open, studying together in silence. It creates a sense of shared purpose, even miles
apart.

Start a book or TV series together and discuss it during your calls. This shared activity keeps
you connected on a level beyond just updating each other about your day.
Also, embrace the power of snail mail. Sending handwritten letters or care packages can bring a
delightful, tangible aspect to your communication, something that texts and emails can’t match.

Combine Studies with Shared Entrepreneurial Ventures:

In a unique twist, some couples channel their academic pursuits into joint entrepreneurial
ventures. This approach is particularly intriguing for business, technology, or art majors. For
example, a computer science and a graphic design major might collaborate on developing a
mobile app or a website. This serves as a practical application of their studies and fosters a
deeper appreciation of each other’s skills.
Moreover, this collaborative effort can extend beyond immediate academic benefits. It paves the
way for understanding the dynamics of working together professionally. Balancing the roles of
business partners and romantic partners requires clear communication, respect for each other’s
expertise, and the ability to resolve disagreements.

Leverage Academic Resources
College offers a plethora of resources that can help ease academic pressures. For example,
many campuses offer tutoring centers, writing workshops, and study groups that can enhance
your learning experience. You can also use the best dissertation writing service if you need
some external support from experts. Encouraging each other to take advantage of these
resources not only boosts academic performance but also reduces the time spent struggling
with difficult subjects.
In addition to academic resources, don’t forget about mental health services. Many colleges
offer counseling services, which can be beneficial for managing stress, anxiety, or any
relationship issues that might arise due to academic pressures.

Conclusion
Navigating the college experience as a couple involves more than just managing study
schedules and date nights. It’s about growing together, both academically and personally. Use
our tips to ensure that your academic journey remains on track without sacrificing the quality of
your relationship.

Ultimately, the journey through college as a couple is a remarkable opportunity to build a strong
foundation for your future together. By embracing both the challenges and the joys, supporting each other’s goals, and learning to navigate life’s complexities hand-in-hand, you set the stage
for a relationship that can withstand the tests of time.

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Education

Estyn decision to scrap headline gradings has ‘lifted a burden’ on schools

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Estyn’s decision to remove gradings such as “excellent”, “adequate” or “needs improvement” from inspection reports has lifted a burden on schools, a committee heard.

Owen Evans, Estyn’s chief inspector, told the Senedd’s education committee that feedback from schools since scrapping the headline gradings has been overwhelmingly positive.

Giving evidence on Estyn’s 2022-23 report, Mr. Evans said the new approach has led to a far more professional dialogue with schools about what’s working and what’s not.

“I think that’s been incredibly refreshing,” he said. “There are several layers of pressure that come with an Estyn inspection of a school….

“The removal of summative judgements and the fact that you’re going to be labelled with that one word, has lifted a burden on the sectors that we look at.”

‘Outlier’

However, Mr Evans stressed that removing gradings must be seen as a trial.

He said: “We are a bit of an outlier. We are still the only inspectorate in the British Isles that has removed summative judgements and a lot of eyes are on us about how this is working.”

Mr Evans, who has been in post for two years, added that Estyn is likely to carry out a review to ensure the reforms have led to further improvements.

He said it was important to introduce parental reports given the removal of gradings, suggesting that reports for learners themselves could also be on the horizon.

Asked about Estyn’s funding, which has increased from £11.5m in 2021-22 to £16m currently, Mr Evans told the committee the uplift was due to the pandemic.

‘Backlog’

He told the committee the interruption created a huge backlog and Estyn needed to increase capacity to finish its six-year cycle of inspections by the end of the current academic year.

Mr Evans said 90%-plus of the uplift has gone on additional inspections and inspectors.

Arguing the additional funding should become a part of the inspectorate’s baseline budget, he told MSs that Estyn will start visiting schools twice every six years from September.

He explained that the main inspection has been slightly curtailed, so Estyn can afford to have an interim inspection after three years rather than a “big bang” every six.

“It’s imperative the budget stays at that or slightly higher,” he said. “But we realise there’s a lot of pressure on the system – we have to demonstrate the value of what we’re doing.”

‘Self-evaluation’

Laura Anne Jones, for the Conservatives, raised concerns about an emphasis on self-evaluation, saying: “I don’t think anyone’s going to mark themselves badly.”

Laura Anne Jones MS speaking in the Senedd
South Wales East MS Laura Anne Jones MS is the Conservative shadow education minister

Mr Evans shared the shadow education minister’s concerns as he warned that self-evaluation is not yet strong enough within schools for Estyn to rely on it.

The chief inspector, who was previously S4C’s chief executive and a senior Welsh Government civil servant, warned that the pandemic continues to cast a shadow.

Mr Evans said variability between schools has widened, raising attendance as an example.

“Some are coping and some are not,” he told MSs: “I think the social contract between schools and parents has, to a degree, broken down.”

‘Stubborn’

Claire Morgan, a strategic director at Estyn, said average attendance is 87.5%, meaning pupils are missing 12 days of education in an academic year “which is far too much”.

She called for more to be done to tackle “stubborn” attendance issues, saying successful schools have a strong community focus.

Mr Evans said exclusions are rising while the number of children and young people going into pupil referral units has doubled since the pandemic.  

He said pupil referral units are no longer helping learners return to mainstream education.

He said: “The wave of anecdote I hear – from everyone from headteachers to teachers and caretakers to support staff – is behaviour, particularly out of the classroom, has worsened.”

‘Relentless’

On Wales’ poor performance in the latest Pisa results, Mr Evans said he was disappointed but not shocked as he called for a “relentless” focus on standards.

He said the results reinforce Estyn’s previous annual reports, which have long raised concerns about numeracy, science and literacy.

Mr Evans suggested a focus on the new curriculum has taken away from subject specialism.

Asked about the impact of poverty on attainment, he said the pupil development grant can make a difference but he suggested the funding is being used to plug budget gaps.

The chief inspector also raised concerns about “great deficiencies” in recruiting teachers in terms of the Welsh language and secondary school subjects such as maths.

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Education

Castle School closure certain now rescue plan has failed

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PARENTS have been informed that the highly regarded Castle School, a beacon of independent education since its establishment in 2009 in Cresselly, is on the verge of closing down, with no rescue plan in sight.

The institution, which began with a mere 22 secondary-aged pupils, saw significant growth over the years, relocating to Narberth in 2015 and later to Haverfordwest. The school, known for its broad curriculum catering to pupils from the age of three to 18, prides itself on an ‘exceptionally high academic performance’, boasting an average of 95 per cent A*-C grades at GCSE.

Despite its academic success, the school announced earlier this month that it would be shutting its doors to the majority of its pupils come July, though it will remain operational for current GCSE and A Level students until their examinations are completed the following year.

Harriet Harrison, the headteacher and proprietor, expressed that the decision to close was made with a ‘heavy heart’ and after considerable deliberation. The news has left many parents in a scramble to secure alternative educational arrangements for their children.

A glimmer of hope appeared when Dr Mark Boulcott, a local dentist and retired army officer with a daughter at the school, presented a rescue plan. “I am doing what I can as quickly as I can. I am doing my very best to stop the closure of a great school,” Dr Boulcott stated, signalling his commitment to prevent the closure.

The school was envisioned to transition into a charitable organisation, with Dr Boulcott collaborating with Mrs Harrison until the end of this academic year before assuming full leadership in July. Unfortunately, this plan has been rendered unviable, with Dr Boulcott disclosing that from a business standpoint, the school’s recovery from the Covid crisis was insurmountable under the current conditions, making the prospect of taking over ‘untenable’.

In an earnest letter to the parents, which was obtained by The Pembrokeshire Herald, Dr Boulcott lamented that the challenges of establishing the school elsewhere were too great, necessitating a considerable investment and an estimated two years to navigate bureaucratic hurdles.

“It is with regret that without immediate extensive capital investment, something we do not have, school purchase resurrection or reorganisation is impossible,” Dr Boulcott concluded in his correspondence with the parents, effectively extinguishing the last embers of hope for the school’s survival.

As the community grapples with the impending loss of Castle School, the situation underscores the continuing pressures faced by independent educational institutions in the post-pandemic landscape.

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Education

Childcare students beat to the rhythm in inspirational drumming workshop

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PEMBROKESHIRE COLLEGE’S Childcare students recently had the enriching opportunity to participate in a captivating drumming workshop led by Lox, where they not only delved into the vibrant rhythms of African drums but also gained insights into Lox’s philanthropic endeavours through his charity, Love Your Neighbour.

The workshop offered an immersive experience into Lox’s upbringing in Kenya, where drums were not just instruments but integral components of culture and community. Through engaging discussions, Lox shared his journey and shed light on the impactful work his charity undertakes, particularly in supporting social and educational projects in Kilfi, Kenya.

Lauren Owen, a Childcare lecturer at Pembrokeshire College, expressed her enthusiasm about the session, stating, “During our session with Lox, we were able to learn about the importance of music in our lives and the significance of offering musical opportunities to children. We discussed the role of music in self-expression, celebration, and community cohesion.”

Students echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the value of incorporating music into children’s developmental activities. One student remarked, “The session gave us so much to think about – valuing music as a key developmental tool for children, as well as considering the wider impact music can have on us all. A big thank you to Lox.”

The workshop not only provided an avenue for cultural exchange but also equipped students with practical insights into incorporating music into their childcare practices. They learned key musical rhythms and explored ways to integrate music for children’s holistic development, fostering creativity, expression, and social interaction.

Moreover, discussions on the barriers to education faced by young people in Kenya offered a broader perspective on global challenges and the role of education in fostering positive change.

To find out more about the Childcare courses offered at the College, please visit: www.pembrokeshire.ac.uk

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