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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

When I first got to college, I found myself beyond bored, with empty days and little purpose. As I began immersing myself in more clubs, internships and roles, however, I discovered something about myself which I never believed possible: I had taken on far beyond what I could handle. I have always thrived off of being busy, so why has it been so hard for me to achieve a true balance in college between professional, financial, social and academic goals? 

According to Mental Health America, about 50% of full-time college students and 80% part-time college students have jobs. College students experience significant stress regarding money and academics. But college should be about more than money and academics. 

While physical and mental health should be a key priority for students, many also seek to prioritize campus engagement, leadership roles and hobbies. Students may find themselves struggling to juggle relationships, homework, family life, work and finances. 


making friends while commuting is a struggle🥲 but still making the effort ❣️ anyways week one done, wondering how long I’ll last without crying😭😭 #fyp #neverbackdown #college #csuf #commuterlife #newsemester #oc #secondyear #collegelife

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Inside Higher Ed, a college media organization and College Pulse, a college data sourcing company, conducted a study where they found that nearly one-third of students surveyed spent no time weekly on extracurriculars, such as campus activities or student government. 

There are benefits to getting involved in college leadership, campus engagement and hobbies. However, beyond seeking jobs for financial assistance, many students feel the pressure of professional development, even in lower-paying or unpaid settings. Gallup found that roughly four in ten college students have had an internship during their time in college. Barriers for getting internships include difficulty finding opportunities, inability to afford having one and needing to relocate.

Various college students report that even activities such as clubs and leadership roles do not feel like it is a part of their free time. They seek unstructured free time where they are not expected to be anywhere or do anything, but not all are able to achieve this, especially for those who are working to fund their degree.

Conversely, those with too much free time also feel this lack of a balance. According to the American Psychological Association free time is only helpful for well-being up to a certain point and can often feel  purposeless for people.

With all the mental health and social benefits, such as improved mood and lower stress levels,but also struggles in time management when getting involved on campus, self-care and professional development, the real question is: how can students truly find a balance?

Many websites, blogs, and even studies offer guides and tips on finding a balance while in college. Aside from the common denominators of time management and taking breaks, below are some suggested ways to find this balance throughout college:

  1. Am I doing this because I want to or because I feel like I have to? Centerstone emphasizes the need to take on opportunities that align with your interests and not taking on opportunities simply to build up your resume. Ask yourself why you are taking on new commitments before you agree to them. It is okay to say no!
  1. Be realistic and set limits on your commitments. Princeton Review has some suggestions on how to manage commitments. They suggest learning to delegate tasks to others, setting personal limits on how long you are spending on your commitments and trying not to take on too many new things at once. 
  1. Join a club or two. Get involved with things that can help you build a social life and resume at once, perhaps even with hobbies! It is often better to pick one or two organizations to really enjoy and get involved with, rather than joining several at once, where you may get too overwhelmed or start seeing them as responsibilities rather than fun. The Jed Foundation suggests trying new things, but aiming for balance.
  1. Have fun in moderation and rethink your self-care. Mental Health America suggests considering your priorities, being honest with yourself over time, identifying your responsibilities and seeing boundaries as self care. Participating in low-commitment events or clubs can be a form of self-care.
  1. Group similar tasks together. GW’s Healthcare team suggests finding ways to multitask to optimize free time when it feels like you don’t have any. Catching up with family while doing house chores, for example, is something where multitasking does not have to reduce the efficiency or quality of either task. Constant multitasking can slow you down, but spreading out your time based on how much energy you can give to the task and how long it will take, can help you get small tasks done in a short period of time.

These are only a few of the many different tips offered for students seeking to find that balance between work, classes, social engagement and free time. While they may not work for everybody, it could be worth a try.

Alana is a third year undergraduate student studying Political Science and Psychology as well as a Combined BA/MA in Public Administration. She is passionate about pop culture, especially TV shows, and loves writing about influences of media on society. Additionally, Alana has a passion for psychology related topics, specifically mental health and disability advocacy. In her free time, Alana enjoys watching sitcoms, going on walks, and exploring DC. She is excited to have a space to write more about what interests her as a Contributing Writer for Her Campus.