How to Balance School with Life

Classes, homework, exams, and studying might feel like they are your life, but I am here to tell you that it is not. School, and all that comes with it, is simply one aspect of your life and your bustling adolescence. Not to mention that balancing it with everything else that this world has to offer you is key to living a harmonious life of personal zen, conscientious academics, and social fun. 

You might feel as though you lean more towards one of these three things. While self-care is absolutely important, so is interpersonal communication and interactions. And I know you all think that school comes first, which is does, it is only to an extent. You never want  to let schoolwork consume you, because your mental health will take a beating. Taking breaks and breathers from whatever you need to is fully acceptable and that is the first thing you need to note about balancing school with just about everything else.

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Friends. Having friends that understand what you are up to and where your priorities lie is something that is absolutely necessary when it comes to a busy, whirlwind lifestyle. You might not always be able to go see that movie or check out that new fro-yo shop, but the people in your life should not hold that against you. You want them to be there for you as you are for them. Of course, when life is hitting hard and you are tied down, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to your friends. Don’t feel pressured to hit them up for a cup of coffee downtown, but a venting sesh over FaceTime might be the release you need and the connection you were hoping for. Technology can seem like the bane of everyone’s existence from time to time, but the instant social access to friends and family through texting, calling, and various media platforms might allow you to feel less guilty when you’re holed up in your apartment making flyers for your latest organizational endeavor or filling out that 800th job application. People love and appreciate you for working hard and are there for you when the time is right. 

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Bullet journals, planners, scheduling apps. It all sounds nice until you actually have to make time for it in order to know how to make time for everything else. What I recommend is keeping up with everything the old fashioned way: To-Do Lists! Just jot down what you need to get done for that day in the morning while you drink your pumpkin spice and scroll through memes. Draw three stars next to the things that absolutely have to be done that day, two stars next to things you want done, and one star next to things you will get to if you have time. If something on your list doesn’t have a star, that is one less thing to add to your plate. Simply going through your whirling thoughts of textbook chapters, shifts at work, lunch dates, real dates, job interviews, exam prep, club meetings, and more on paper, with stars, allows you to visualize what is the most imperative to you and your day at hand. No need to load up on activities and stress that isn’t super merely necessary! 

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What is absolutely imperative, though, to keep your social life, professional life, family life, and academic life in order, is reminders. iPhones have a reminder app built right into their system, and if you don’t use them now, you’re missing out. Personally, I set reminders for just about everything. Whether it’s a reminder to call my mom, change my Invisalign, drop off paperwork, clean out my desktop, or meditate, there is a specific reminder set on my phone for it. There is something very reassuring knowing that you can set these little blasts to go off at certain times, on specific days, or on repeat! I know I have Her Campus meetings every other Wednesday, so every other Wednesday a reminder goes off an hour before the meeting to remind me that I should be getting my stuff together and making sure I’m in the area for it. Also, if something springs to mind about classwork, career work, or anything else, you can set a reminder right then are there – even for just a few minutes ahead! They don’t have to be set far in advance and you can change up the way that they pop up on your phone and alert you. It’s sneaky, easy, quick, and genius! A To-Do list that has a timer and follows you around? 100 percent a necessity for an on-the-go lifestyle. 

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Making sure you eat well, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep is your top priority regardless of how filled your schedule gets and how overwhelmed you feel. Physical health and mental health needs to take precedence over that third Friends episode, fifth shot of espresso, and what probably feels like the 45th chapter of that textbook. Down time is you time, not cram-little-things-in-because-I-have-a-free-minute time. 

As stated earlier, breathing room is a-ok… even if you’re inundated with reading logs, thesis papers, shifts at work, birthday parties, and family commitments. Don’t let one aspect of your life overpower the others. Balance it all. Do what makes you happy. Work hard. Find meaning in everything you do. Focus, elvaulate, communicate, visualize, and breathe. You can do this, girl!