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Being Extra: A Guide to Balancing Extracurriculars and Classes

As college students, we’re expected to do it all. Let’s face it — classes aren’t the only things we have going on as students. Some students have jobs, internships or extracurriculars — and some are even doing all of those things at the same time. While being in college is a great time to make connections, build a resume, and prepare for future careers, it’s also a time to have a social life, make friends and grow as an individual. Balancing all of the expectations and responsibilities we are faced with at this age is not an easy task, so here’s a guide to creating a healthy balance between extracurriculars and classes.

Schedule Everything

The first and most important part of balancing extracurriculars and classes is scheduling. Knowing that there is enough time to get everything done will make getting it done much less overwhelming. Obviously, it’s nearly impossible to stick to a tight schedule 100% of the time, but knowing that everything is possible by a designated time is the key to not stressing yourself out too much or giving up. By scheduling in free time, meals and study time between structured appointments and deadlines, you’re making time for everything!

Make Time For Fun 

Giving yourself a mental break by making time for friends and social activities is just as important as getting your work done. Having something to look forward to throughout the week helps to break up the stress of everyday life. College is a time for learning and growing but it’s also a time for having fun. Make sure to prioritize your social life as well as your work life. Allow yourself to have mental health days. Sometimes your brain needs a break, so make sure to listen to your body and take breaks when needed. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help

You’re not expected to be able to do everything all of the time. While it may feel hard to ask for help sometimes, sometimes it’s necessary. If you’re struggling to attend every meeting, it’s more than okay to talk to someone in charge about what’s going on. At the end of the day, extracurriculars are just that: extra. While they’re a great way to get experience in areas of your field, make friends and learn new things, it’s also important to remember that they’re there to help you. Ask the leaders of your clubs and activities for help when needed so you can work to the best of your potential.

Don’t spread yourself too thin

Sometimes it’s tempting to want to do everything and be the best at everything. Trust me, sometimes I have to remind myself that I can’t be the leader of every organization, I can’t join every club under the sun, and I can’t have a perfect GPA. And that’s okay! The few organizations I’ve joined are things that I’m passionate about —  and I’m doing something I love in every single one. You don’t have to be the “best” at everything all of the time. Don’t spread yourself too thin otherwise you’ll never feel fulfilled. 

Be open to change

If something isn’t working, change it. If you always find yourself dreading going to certain club meetings, struggling through a certain class, or if things just aren’t working for you, change them. You have control over what you’re involved in and hat this time in your life, so make sure it’s working for you. If you don’t have the same sort of time for something you did in a past semester, change it. Come up with a plan to get everything done and stay on top of your time and energy. If you’re the leader of an organization and the work is becoming too overwhelming, find a co-leader to help. Listen to your body, your mind and your heart and do what’s best for you. 

Even though it’s not easy to balance extracurriculars and classes, it’s possible! Extracurriculars are a great way to get involved, meet people and to learn more about yourself and the people around you. Joining them doesn’t have to be stressful, it can all be beneficial. Following the steps of this guide has helped me balance all of my obligations, and to get the most out of everything I do, and I hope it’ll help you as well!

Alexandra is a sophomore at the University of Central Florida, studying print and digital journalism. She loves to be creative in any way, shape, or form and is currently training to be a makeup artist! When she's not in class or writing, she's either at Disney or creating something new.
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