The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
At times, college can get so busy between the assignments and due dates, and the house parties and movie marathons. When this happens, some think memories are more important and neglect their studies, while others have graduate school or GPA in mind and forget to spend time with friends. Neither of these routes are ideal, because who wants to look back on college and wish they had a better social or academic life on campus? In order to get the absolute most out of college, balance is key. While this can be difficult at times, here are some ways to balance college classes and a social life to create the most memories and live in the moment.
- Use a planner
Using a planner is possibly one of the most important ways to keep track of your work. Whether it’s a physical paper planner or a web interface like Google Calendar, this is a great method for visualizing how busy you will be in a given week. This is especially helpful if you work a job on or off campus as well, because you can see what free time you have to work with in the days ahead. If you notice there are a lot of assignments next week, maybe get a jump start on them so you are not overwhelmed when the due dates start to arrive. Conversely, if you notice you have a lot of free time next week, you can comfortably plan outings with your friends without worrying about missing deadlines while you’re out. Planning in advance when you can go out and enjoy time with friends, and when you should stay in and crank out some assignments, is a great way to manage your time so you can do both!
- Create a routine and stick with it
By creating a routine, it will allow you to get used to splitting your time between work and play, while making sure you’re getting everything you want to do into your day. For some people, daily routines for each weekday can be a bit overwhelming, so this may not be for everyone. However, it has proven to help many students keep track of their daily activities and better manage their time. By waking up at the same time every day and carrying out a morning routine, whether it is yoga and journaling, working out at the gym, or just making a tasty breakfast in your pajamas, your body will adapt to and eventually crave the routine you set for yourself. Perhaps your mornings are when you have time for exercise, your afternoons consist of classes and homework assignments, and your evenings mean dinner with your friends. By creating a routine that incorporates everything you value, you will be better equipped to take on each day with confidence. The routine you choose to follow could also benefit your social life by letting your friends know when you are consistently free. If they know you work out every morning until 9am, they can expect to grab breakfast with you when you return. Or, they may know you have free time after dinner for social activities since you do your homework in the afternoon, and invite you over for some movies and popcorn. The benefits to creating and abiding by a routine are endless if you feel this works well for you.
- Maintain your balance
All of these tips sound great in theory, but let’s be real: it’s college. Friends create last-minute plans that may not align with your schedule, or on a night where you planned to grind on some homework assignments. It’s important to enjoy yourself and create memories with those around you! However, make sure you are being true to your best interest. When you find yourself swaying too far in one direction, try to correct for it. This means that after several days of homework and exams, you should get out and have some fun! Enjoy a homework-free weekend or host a post-exam movie night. If you allow work to consume your college days, you may regret not taking it easy from time to time. With that being said, if you have had a couple of all-out weekends with late nights and partying, consider staying in and getting ahead on work or catching up on sleep next weekend. By making sure you stay reasonably balanced, you are doing yourself a huge favor.
- Fuel your body
Finally, none of these tips would be quite complete without your daily reminder to take care of yourself first. In order to keep this balance and enjoy the academic and social aspects of college, you need to stay energized and well. Sleeping seven to nine hours per night is ideal, as is exercising and eating right. These three items should be prioritized, because without proper health, you will not be able to be your successful, balanced self. This does not mean you have to go vegetarian and work out intensely every day, it just means to listen to your body. Exercise can be your daily walks between classes, and nutrition can mean making a meal every now and then rather than ordering out or eating in the dining hall.
This is not an exhaustive list of all the possible ways to balance your academic life with your social life, but it’s a great start! If it becomes difficult to find a balance, and you start to struggle, reach out to your friends or professors for help or advice. At the end of the day, everybody wants to have some great college years just as much as you do!