Since I am a student athlete here at Benedictine (I run both cross country and track) and am also very serious about my academics, I know how important it is to live a well-balanced lifestyle while at college. My experience from first semester is even more helpful in giving future students an idea of what this balanced lifestyle consists of. Here are some simple steps that you can take in order to do so.
Be present in the moment. This means when you are in class, be focused on that particular subject rather than thinking about a practice you have later or what you plan on doing with your friends that night. This way, you limit missing out on valuable information or activities by not allowing your mind to wander.
Prioritize. I’m sure you’ve all heard this before, but it’s very important to stay honest with yourself. Do what you know to be most necessary on your list of things ‘to do’ first, a 5 page research paper for instance, before moving on to maybe an activity you find more fun, such as going out to the movies with your friends.
Do not procrastinate. This is closely related to prioritizing, but I just wanted to elaborate a little since I have some personal experience I’d like to share. In college rather than high school it is a little easier to fall a victim of procrastination because all of your assignments are not due the next day as they often are in high school. The mistake I made was holding most of my assignments off until the weekend when I thought I’d have more time. The problem is this caused me to feel overwhelmed, rush and not put my full effort into assignments, and feel like I didn’t learn the material as well as I should have. If possible, it is also beneficial to do or start the assignment the day you get it so the material is fresh in your mind.
Eat and Sleep. I can probably not stress how important it is to eat and sleep. Eating, and especially fresh and nutritious foods, really does lead to feeling more focused in class, and thus learning the materials well. If you have an 8:00 a.m. class, try your hardest to eat something before class, even if it’s small. Get your sleep too! You also cannot focus as well in class if you’re feeling groggy from staying up until 3 a.m. the night before from a paper you held off unti the last second. Your body also takes a long time to recover from late nights, so try to get as much sleep as you can and stick to a pretty regular schedule.
Have Fun. You will feel overwhelmed and rundown if you never allow yourself some fun. Yes, college is going to be stressful at times, but that’s all the more reason to give yourself a break here and there. You want to enjoy your experience here at college, not look back and regret never having done what you enjoyed!