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How do I balance in college?

I want to do so much in college. I need to work, but i also want to really get involved and even join a sorority. Any tips on how to balance all my wants, needs, and classes? #college #sorority #balance #jobs

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Lynette’s Answer

Hi Krista,

College can be a fun and exciting learning experience, both in classes and in life. Staying active and involved while you're there can help you make the most of it! Figuring out how to manage your time, though, and keep a healthy balance between work, school and "fun", can be challenging for anyone.

Unfortunately, there is no “magic formula” for finding the right balance, and sticking to it. It requires skill, practice, and maturity. It doesn't get any easier, as your responsibilities grow, either. After college, you may have to balance a full-time job, paying bills, maintaining a home, and caring for a family. On top of all that, you may want time for friends, travel, and whatever else you find fulfilling in life.

So, learning to manage your time and balance your activities now, while still in college, is a great way to develop and practice the skills you need, before the stakes get even higher.

Here are some suggestions that may help you succeed:

1. Stay organized: buy a planner or download a calendar app to keep track of class times, due dates, social events, etc. Block out study time on the calendar, and stick to those commitments.

2. Plan ahead, and prioritize: take a look at your upcoming week, month and semester. Block out the time you need to finish your school work, before you say “yes” to social events. Prioritize carefully - there will be many opportunities to socialize, but you only get one chance to pass that final exam.

3. Join a study group, or make plans to study with your sorority sisters, once or twice a week. This will help you get in some social time, while still getting your school work done.

4. Schedule study time during your most productive hours. Are you a morning person? A night owl? If you align your studying with your most productive hours, you’ll get more done, faster.

5. Make the most of any downtime. Do you have a few hours between classes? A few minutes on the bus? 30 minutes until the pizza arrives? Use that time to to catch up on schoolwork.

6. Schedule your classes in blocks, if possible: when you sign up for classes, try to schedule them together into “blocks of time”, instead of all spread out throughout the week. This will reduce the amount of time you spend travelling back and forth to classes, and may leave you with some longer, “free” blocks of time that can be used for studying or socializing.

7. Were you active in high school? What things worked well for you then? Think back to what worked for you in the past, and apply them now!

Hopefully these tips will help you, but keep in mind that even the the most efficient time managers will sometimes just have to say "no", once in a while. There are only so many hours in a day, so you decide what your priorities are, then exercise self-discipline to stick to them. Maybe you pick one or two activities, instead of four. Or, maybe you work weekends only, and leave the rest of the week for school and fun. Whatever works for you.

Good luck!

Lynette recommends the following next steps:

Read articles or blog posts from other students who successfully balanced lots of activities during college. For example: http://college.usatoday.com/2016/07/21/voices-a-student-athlete-finds-the-right-balance-between-school-and-sports/
This is a very thoughtful article written by a couple of therapists, offering some more great tips. Check it out: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/ross-a-rosenberg/time-management-tips-for-_b_12435970.html