Luke, great question. I just graduated college last may and was totally able to manage a social life and my academic life through a few key strategies. First and foremost is don't delay. If you have an assignment due in two weeks, don't put it off until the last minute possible. Getting things done ahead of time is honestly the best as you'll have lots of free time to spend with friends and socialize. I'd always start a paper or studying for a test between 1-2 weeks ahead of time and I always had at least a week of free time to spare. Getting things done early will improve your grades, will keep you sane, and will ensure that you have a good social life.
Secondly, don't stress out. There were times as an undergrad that I would approach an assignment and felt as if the world was closing in on me. I, at first, pressured myself way too much and would stress out over the smallest assignments or tasks. It's important to breathe and get some perspective on the task at hand. Overpreparing is good for a final exam, but you shouldn't be losing sleep over those daily 5 point reading checks.
Thirdly, go outside and leave the library. College is a time to meet people and explore. Don't feel pressured by college and stay inside. I have a friend who was in the library 24/7 the first year and now regrets it because freshman year is honestly when people are the most social and friendly. Always get your work done, study, and prepare for all assignments and tasks, but don't neglect the other 50% of college which is your social life.
Austin recommends the following next steps:
- Breathe in and out, don't stress the small stuff
- Prepare, plan, and don't procrastinate