Whether you’re a freshman or a transfer living on your college campus for the first time, balancing your personal and academic life takes on a whole new meaning. All of a sudden, where you live and work also becomes the same place where you are socializing and enjoying yourself. Balancing these two aspects of your life can be tough, especially when the line between them blurs.
There’s a popular image that goes around of a triangle that says to pick two from getting good grades, your social life, and getting enough sleep. But we all know there are so many more commitments:
How do you achieve work-life balance and manage all of these obligations? Here are some tips:
1. Organize your schedule. One of the most important ways to balance all your commitments is to make a schedule. This involves using a physical calendar or your Google calendar to plan out your day. Block out three-hour periods every day to dedicate to working, whether it be studying or finishing an assignment. This does not include class time or office hours that may already be on your schedule.
Once your academics are out of the way, look at the time you have left and place your commitments around them. You might have club meetings Thursday nights, for example, or want to attend a workshop Monday afternoon. Having all these commitments on your schedule lets you know where you need to go, making you a lot more efficient in your day-to-day tasks. Furthermore, you know when you are doing too much, simply because you can visually see your schedule in front of you. Overbooking yourself is no fun!
2. Eat well and exercise. The most important thing to remember is to take care of yourself. You’ll feel better when you’re fit and healthy, giving you more energy to complete the tasks you’ve set out for yourself. Make a conscious decision to set aside time for meals, your favorite yoga class, or getting a run in during the morning. Don’t forget that you can do this with friends—it’s a nice way to socialize and get some exercise in.
3. Have time to yourself. Not everything is about multitasking in a scramble to do it all. Set aside uninterrupted time to do what you enjoy. This can include reading, grabbing a meal with a friend, or even meditating. Respect your own boundaries and understand when it’s time to grind and when it’s time to be honest with yourself about what you can handle.
Make sure you stay true to yourself about what is most important to you. Frankly, it’s hard to balance everything, and there are tradeoffs that have to be made. For example, if you are working on getting an internship, then maybe you can work on homework earlier in the day to give yourself ample time to clean up your resume in the evening.
Finally, be open about your needs. In an environment where most of your friends are only a block away or on campus, you have so many shoulders to lean on! If you need professional help, seek out counseling at your school. I find that ambitious, driven friends who are supportive of each other are the best kinds of motivators for achieving work-life balance.
Comment below if you have any tips for balancing school, work, and friends!
– Michelle L.