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Balancing Academic and Personal Responsibilities

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

Balancing academic responsibilities with one’s personal life can be challenging, especially for young adults attending university. As a young adult attending the University of Toronto, I sometimes find it difficult to find time for myself while also obtaining my desired grades in school. Despite the challenges, effective time management, prioritization, and self-care strategies can help students successfully balance their academic and personal lives. 

University can be very demanding, especially since the average student at UofT takes five classes and is assigned homework, readings, quizzes, tests, projects, and more, for every one of these courses. This can be draining and can affect a student’s mental and physical health, in addition to impacting their relationships and daily activities. I am acknowledging these difficulties not to scare you, but to show you that these are common and very real experiences, but they can also be managed. I will discuss time management techniques, ways to set boundaries for your personal well being, and self-care and wellness practices. Disclaimer: these are all techniques and practices that I have found on my own and that have worked for me.

 I know we all have a lot of things on our minds; events to attend, due dates for assignments, plans to grab lunch with friends, etc. Something I have implemented in my life recently has been writing all of this down in my digital calendar. In my calendar, I have all my classes, but I also add times when I plan to workout at the gym and days when I have dinner with friends. This may seem simple, and it is, but it has made a positive impact on my life, since I don’t have to invest as much energy in memorizing my day-to-day life. I find this helpful not only to remember everything that I have to do in a day, but also to liberate my mind from all this information and let my calendar remember for me. In addition to this, I keep a list in my notes of all the assignments that I have for every class. At the beginning of the semester, when I receive the syllabi for my classes, I write down every assignment, the dates when they are due, and any other information I find important. Furthermore, it is very important to start working on an assignment, or studying, early. I know this isn’t always a possibility, but doing so has reduced much anxiety for me and allows for better quality work. 

Another crucial step in balancing academic and personal responsibilities is to take time for yourself. Spending time with friends who reduce your anxiety is important, whether you study together or hang out outside of school. Being with people with whom you can be yourself and who recharge your emotional energy is essential, but sometimes the only person who can help you clear your mind is yourself. It is very important to set boundaries and be able to spend time alone with yourself, doing activities unrelated to school or work, such as reading, watching a movie, working out at the gym, or going for a walk. It could also be to do something you’ve never done before, and doing it by yourself, such as painting, pottery-making, or rock climbing. We want to do our best in school and often spend most of our time working on assignments, but we also need to prioritize our own mental and physical health. 

Some self-care and wellness practices which I have found work for me are meditation, reading, watching relaxing TV shows, going for a walk outside, working out at the gym, and journaling. I love meditating morning and night, and focusing on my breathing in order to let go of the tension in my body and be in the present moment. I sometimes journal to free my mind from my endless thoughts since having them on paper allows my mind to reduce the amount of times I think of them. I also go for walks or go to the gym, even when I’m tired, to release the pent-up adrenaline from anxiety and clear my mind while listening to music. I love reading fantasy, romance, and wellness books as well as watching TV shows because they make my mind feel calm and allow me to focus only on one thing at a time. These are activities and practices that I use and that have helped me reduce my anxiety, and made me realize that focusing on our mental and physical health is just as important as school, if not more.

In summary, it is perfectly normal to experience stress in our daily lives due to school and attempting to balance varying aspects of one’s life, but when this occurs, we need to find ways to reduce this anxiety and create a life that balances academic and personal responsibilities. This can be a difficult task which is why I hope that the methods I mentioned above can help you too. The methods and practices I use to calm myself may not be as effective for one person than they are for another, which is why every person needs to take the time to find what works for them. In essence, by implementing effective time management, setting boundaries, and prioritizing self-care, students can navigate the complexities of academic and personal life, ultimately achieving a harmonious balance that fosters success, well-being, and fulfillment. 

Naomie Dussault

U Toronto '26

Hello! I'm Naomie, a pre-law student at the University of Toronto with a passion for exploring the intersections of Ethics, Society, and Law. Alongside my major, I delve into the complexities of Bioethics, as well as the realms of Buddhism, Psychology, and Mental Health through minors. Off-campus, you'll often find me lost in the enchanting worlds of fantasy and romance books, or out on the field playing soccer or hitting the gym. Traveling is another love of mine, as it broadens my perspectives and enriches my understanding of diverse cultures. Above all, I find immense joy in helping others, whether through my writing, school, or simply lending a listening ear. Balancing social activities with introspective moments, I cherish both the company of friends and the quiet moments of self-reflection. Join me on my journey as I navigate academia, adventures, and the pursuit of making a positive impact in the world.