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Do you get to balance your personal life in college?

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John’s Answer

Karoline as you are probably all too aware, college can be a challenging and stressful time. That’s why learning how to adapt while creating a good work/life balance is critical to your success and survival. (And by “work/life balance,” I mean academics/social activities/sports/family/practicing the guitar/eating/sleeping balance.)

There are only so many hours in the day, so plan for what is doable and go for it. Finding balance begins with setting realistic goals for yourself, not only for your academics but for other aspects of campus life. And though this can be difficult with friends and parents offering lots of input, remember not to allow others to influence your goals. Set priorities—then enjoy the satisfaction of crossing things off your list.

Remember that we all have the same 24 hours in which to get things done. Learn to prioritize and allocate time for eating, exercising, socializing, and sports. Thirty minutes a day of “downtime” can make a real difference in how you feel. And learn to say “no”—it can be a hard thing to do, but sometimes you need to do it to protect yourself. There is a saying that all work and no play spoils your day, and that is certainly true of studying. You’ll spend countless hours studying, preparing for exams, and more, but you want to avoid burnout and cramming. Schedule your time wisely and develop a workable study schedule and routine.

Sugar highs and lows can influence your ability to cope with stress. Eating a balanced diet is the ideal, and, yes, it is idealistic. But it is possible. Avoid empty calories from junk food and eat fruits and veggies to get you through energy slumps. Movement keeps the body tuned up. Do some sort of physical activity or stretches throughout the day. Exercising increases blood flow and sends oxygen to the brain resulting in better memory, reasoning, and concentration.

One of the great things about college is that you have access to all sorts of help; you can turn to professors, advisors, counseling centers, and more for help when you need it. The important thing is to be able to recognize when you need it and not be afraid to ask for it. You are not the first student at the university, and you will not be the last. Many before you have experienced the same challenges and have walked in your shoes. Resources are available; know how to access them and to use them wisely. It's easier said than done, but think about what must be done now and what you can let go and defer for another day/time/semester. Relax, and let it go!

At some point in time, you will feel overwhelmed, and that is okay. Recognizing the situation and being willing to make a change is a good thing. So, look at where and how you spend your time. Are you involved in too many extracurricular activities or organizations? Would this be a good time to drop a leadership role, cut back on social activities, and even drop a class, if needed? To do so is not a sign of failure, but rather the first step toward achieving the balancing act that you need to get you through the experience.

Karoline college is one of the most exciting times in a person's life, but it can also be intimidating. College spells independence, change, transition, decisions, and growth experiences. Make the most of your college experience by striving for and achieving balance.

Hope this was Helpful Karoline

Thank You Tea. “The unselfish effort to bring cheer to others will be the beginning of a happier life for ourselves.” — Helen Keller John Frick

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Meghan’s Answer

This is a great question! Balancing your personal life in college is not easy, but certainly possible. I would recommend starting off with the understanding that as a college student (especially if you're enrolled full time), you will occasionally have to miss out on social outings and/or personal downtown in pursuit of your studies. But, planning ahead and being self aware of your personal studying needs will help to avoid these instances. Try to be honest with yourself about how much study/work time you need to perform well as a student and do everything in your power to prioritize that time. Know that studying is not something you do in preparation for an exam, it's something you do all the time as a student. Studying for a set amount of time every day will help to 1) avoid cramming 2) constantly reinforce the material 3) allow you to compartmentalize your day in a way that leaves time for your personal life. I hope this helps!

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omar’s Answer

The skills you create, build, and embrace around balancing your college and personal life will prove to be extremely valuable in your professional career. Throughout my college career, I had an ego where I claimed the skill of balancing life and college was innate. Once I understood that this was a skill that needed as much nurturing as the major I elected, life became so much easier to manage. Level setting priorities of life's obligations and having a sense of urgency for assignment deadlines can be stressful if the structure and direction is not clearly laid out.

There are many resources and tools available where you can build upon your time management skills, Here is a link to a few well-known time management methods: https://www.brightpod.com/boost/10-popular-time-management-techniques

Also, take a look at your local sororities and fraternities! Joining one can create a stronger sense of community and support, along with a social life that ties to college. On top of that, there are many successful alumni within these organizations that want to see its college members succeed and will mentor and share their expertise to help you build on your time management skills.

omar recommends the following next steps:

Read some time management books
Attend professional skill building seminars
Find a mentor
Plan ahead!
Wake up early!

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hello Karoline!

Another great question asked-- and, to me, the answer all depends on how you choose to prioritize things. The other answers to your question have been great: making sure you work ahead, find a network of like minded people to help you focus, etc. For many, college is where you truly learn about yourself-- a lot of students are off on their own away from families. Students have the opportunity to choose to go to class, or not go to class-- to hangout until 2am, or to wake-up at 6am and go for a run (just as a few examples). College is what you want it to be-- if you want to focus and work extremely hard to maybe land a competitive job after you graduate, then I'd say you'll probably have to focus a little more on your studies rather than going to the campus hangout spot at 11pm at night. In my personal experience, I took my 4-5 classes per semester, was heavily involved a college organization, and I still managed to have fun on the weekends. I will tell you, it is very easy to lose focus because you're in a new environment with people from all over the country (and sometimes world), there are lots of social events and happenings the majority of the school year-- you just need to pick and choose what you want to do, and what will set you up for future success.

Good luck, and have fun!

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Wayne’s Answer

Hi Karoline. You can definitely balance college and a personal life. I definitely did!

Here are some tips that may help you. With the pressure of completing coursework, paying for school, and trying to enjoy your college experience, sometimes life can feel a little overwhelming to say the least. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you feel like a human, even when you are actually a busy, stressed-out college student.

Keep an Updated Schedule. This is a great way to make use of the calendar app on your phone. Take the time to add your class schedule for the semester as well as any due dates for your assignments. Set aside specific times throughout the week to focus on things like homework, laundry, gym, cleaning your room and taking care of bills.

Work Ahead (or just Don’t Procrastinate). By procrastinating you are allowing your to-do list to grow and grow into an intimidating amount of work. Once all that work has piled up, it will be even harder to motivate yourself to get started. Getting ahead on readings, papers, and other assignments will help reduce procrastination-based stress while allowing more time in the future for hanging out with friends or just relaxing with a weekend of Netflix binging. Resources like Course Hero—which offers study resources, online tutoring, and digital flashcards—can help you study ahead and compare notes to past students who’ve taken your exact courses before.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep. We regularly hear about the benefits of getting more sleep, from maintaining a strong immune system to improving our moods, but we seldom manage to actually implement this advice. Sometimes we get so entrenched in our work that the high amount of stress and large workload can keep us from getting enough sleep. If you really take the time to improve the quality of your sleep,your stress levels will go down and you will be able to think more clearly and make fewer mistakes in your work.

Prioritize Your Work. Organize your work in a meaningful way based on when projects, papers, and other work events are due. Recurring things like homework and studying are easier to schedule ahead of time, but sometimes papers and projects tend to sneak up on you. Make sure to check your syllabus to see how different assignments are weighted. Important assignments like papers and exams can make the difference of a full letter grade (or two!) for a class. Prioritizing assignments will allow you to focus on what is most important first, and then knock out smaller assignments afterward. Knowing you’ve completed a major project and don’t have to worry about it hanging over your head can also help you to feel more balanced and relaxed.

Make Time for Yourself. Whether this means spending time with friends, visiting family, or even just taking a moment to relax by yourself, it is important for your well-being to have some time set aside away from work and school. Once you have finished important tasks, be sure to find some way to treat yourself and clear your head.

Following this simple advice might not melt all your stress away, but it will help you stay sane while still maintaining a busy schedule. And remember, you don’t have to go through it all alone! Be sure to take advantage of all the resources at your disposal, including Course Hero’s homework help and study resources, counselors and other college staff and resources.

Good luck!