The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
It’s back to school time. We’re all excited and eager, yet drastically overwhelmed. Honestly, fair enough. Most students are trying to find time for a part-time job, extracurricular involvement, the gym, a social life, cooking and cleaning, a decent sleep schedule, and just a teeny bit of personal downtime. Oh yeah, and this is all on top of a full-time school career—that of which we are expected to maintain a stellar GPA. It’s a lot. While university is one of the most exciting and fun times of your life, it can also be the busiest.
Now that we’re getting into the nitty-gritty of the semester where school work starts to pick up, you might be asking yourself: “How on earth am I supposed to balance all of this?”. I for one am definitely not an expert, nor the best at keeping life completely on track, but here are a few tips that have worked for me.
- At least an hour of free time. Every. Single. Day.
This one is tough. We are all so busy all day. After exhausting yourself anywhere from 10 to 15 hours a day, you need and deserve at least an hour to relax, unwind, and recharge. Whatever that may be for you: watching TV, baking, or listening to music—take that time for yourself.
2. Figuring out what type of free time ACTUALLY relaxes you and allows you to recharge.
It’s easy to want to dedicate all of your time away from school and work commitments to your friends. When you’re this young, friendships are so important because you’re away from family—in college, your friends become your family. But despite this fact, it’s still really important to prioritize some of your downtime to being without your friends and doing something that allows you to recharge. If you do have a smaller group of friends you can relax with and feel energized after, that’s great! But oftentimes in college we have groups of friends in which you’re all loud, fun, hype people for each other, and sometimes you just need to unwind and watch an episode of The Office in your bed with a bowl of cereal. Finding the perfect balance of free time spent with your amazing hype besties and free time spent recharging will be crucial for your mental health this semester.
3. Make a list of what your priorities are in order, and schedule according to that.
When you have a multitude of commitments, like the ones listed above, it’s hard to learn how to prioritize. Taking the time to really think about what is most important to you will help ease the stress of having so many commitments. Once you’ve thought about it, try making a list. That way, you can make your to-do lists based on your priorities. Like this, you won’t be focused on planning your extracurricular calendar all day Sunday only to realize at 10 pm that you have a final essay due the next day (I may be speaking from experience…).
4. Schedules, schedules, and more schedules.
And finally, the most important part of it all: scheduling. Having an agenda—paper or virtual—will make your life 1000x easier. I know you hear this all the time and it’s probably annoying by now, but it’s true. Studies show that having your workload laid out in an agenda or planner does not only help you manage time and get organized, but actually reduces stress and leads to better grades. It is so easy to forget all of the plans, commitments and school work you have to do, so write it down! Write down your homework, when assignments are due, when you have a shift at work, when you have club meetings, etc. It can also help you visualize your schedule and see if you are overbooking yourself.
This goes without saying, but everything I have mentioned is much easier said than done. However, with some focus and determination, you can get these little things done. This list is simply tools to help make the bigger tasks in life a little bit easier. Remember, balance is essential and your mental health is both a priority and the key to succeeding in all areas of life. Good luck!