One thing that people always told me before I came to college was you get to choose 2 out of 3 things: studying, sleeping and having a social life. The dilemma is that we want, and need, all of these things in some form. Fortunately, I’ve found that it is possible to get all of these things and more. Time management is an important skill that will make the rest of our lives less stressful. Learning to live a balanced life has become very important to me as a Benedictine student. BenU even offers a scholarship award for people who have lived balanced lives in high school. You can get the scholarship if you’ve been a leader or participated in community service. The purpose of college is to train ourselves for a profession we one day hope to have. Obviously this entails learning and getting good grades, so we have to study. We pay an awful lot of money to have the opportunity to learn skills we will need later on. However, every human being also needs to sleep. Without enough sleep, you’re more susceptible to stress and you will have a harder time getting work done efficiently. So does that mean you should choose these 2 out of the 3? Absolutely not. I’ve learned to get both of these things and also have a social life. If you don’t save time to relax and hangout with friends, then all of your hard work isn’t really worth it because you probably won’t be very happy. Plus, without taking time out to do something fun you will probably get worn out very quickly, which is especially dangerous to those of us hoping to go on for further education.
Here are some tips that you can use to make sure you have a balanced life while you are in college.
Make a schedule and follow it. This is one of the most helpful things you can do to make sure you manage your time. Make lists of the things you need to accomplish: short-term and long-term. Dedicate certain times of the day to getting those tasks done and cross them out as you go. Staying organized will help you to get things done efficiently and stay less stressed.
Prioritize. As you get comfortable in college, you will realize that certain aspects of your life are more important than others. Academics should be one of your highest priorities since we pay a lot of money to take classes at a university. Deciding which things are priorities will help you put an order to the tasks you want to get done. We should put classes and homework before watching the latest episode of our favorite TV show. Getting the important things done and treating our TV show as a reward can give us incentive to get homework done quickly.
Make use of your time. One of the things I have found that is most effective in keeping a balanced life is using small breaks during the day wisely. As much as we just want to jump into bed after class and nap, if we use the hour we have in between classes to get a homework assignment done, we will get to sleep more at night. It is very easy to sit around on Facebook or texting and the next thing we know we have just wasted two hours and have to get to class. If you make a list of things and devote those two hours to getting a homework assignment done, you will have time later in the night to relax.
Get involved. I know it may seem like getting more involved will only take away from the time you have to sleep and have a social life, but it can actually do the opposite. If you are involved in clubs or other social activities, you will get less burned out from school. A variety of school, clubs, work and social life will make your day go by quicker and you won’t feel like you are always studying. However, make sure you don’t overwhelm yourself with too many activities.
Go somewhere to study. If you go to a library, you will have less distractions around you. Sure there are people around and they may talk to you for a little bit, but in your dorm you can easily access the t.v., snacks, and your roommate. Go to a quiet floor of the library, so you don’t have the option of slacking off and talking to people. If you truly devote an hour or two to homework, you will get a lot more done.
Turn it off. Put your cell phone away and sign out of Facebook and Twitter for an hour each day. I know it feels like you might miss out on something, but you won’t. I’ve noticed it takes me almost double the time to finish an assignment if I have my phone nearby. Those seconds you take to check your texts or social networking sites add up and take up a lot of the time you could’ve used to get something done. Plus, you can’t truly focus on learning if you are distracted by your phone.
Overall, just try to plan for things and stay organized in college and you should have no problem balancing out your academics, clubs, work, sleeping, eating and social life. College can be a lot of fun and you can learn a lot, so try to take advantage of both of those opportunities and get as much as possible out of this experience. But also remember you need some “me time” every so often.