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How can I balance school work, extra curricular activities, and a social life so that I succeed?

I plan to be a Biology major on the pre-med track and I need to excel academically, include myself in internships and volunteering, as well as lead a healthy social life. #medicine #anesthesiology #work-life-balance #personal-development #biology


You can make a schedule of what you have to do each day and spend your time wisely. Lana J.

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Chris’s Answer

Hi Theresa- consider the following three notions about achieving balance across school work, activities and social life.

  1. Come up with a mental model of what "success" is across all the three. You might find there are things in each area that you can assign weight to; this will help to define the meaning for each.
  2. Based on the mental model you craft give serious consideration to what you are willing to trade off in one area in order to achieve success in another. This activity can provide further clarity for what is/are the most important element(s) of each of the three areas. And write them down, or type into a document.
  3. Can you find a way to blend one area with another? For example extra curricular activities often carry with them a social component. It is quite possible to achieve fulfillment in the extra curricular area while also satisfying your craving for having a social life.

Chris recommends the following next steps:

Determine which of the three areas require the most time, and then determine if you can re-allocate some of that time to another area and still feel that you have succeeded.
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Exercise patience.
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Andrea’s Answer

Hi Theresa,
You are off to a great start by knowing what areas you need to focus to meet your career and academic goals.
The next step is to prioritize each area, by semester and make a plan from now until graduation. Include the areas you need to accomplish and when you need them completed by. Be proactive and plan when you need to begin searching for an internship to have the experience in the time-frame it is needed. Same with your volunteer work. Pick some organizations of interest, contact them to see what opportunities they are seeking and when and coordinate it with your schedule and volunteer needs.
It is all about balance and life management. It's a work in progress.
Test the plan for a semester and evaluate what went well and what areas need improvement and re-plan the next semester to get better at managing time and make improvements that will help you meet your goals.
Good luck and have fun with the journey!

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Rebecca’s Answer

Hi Theresa,

This is a really great question. When I was in college, I was busy with school work as I studied to get my Psychology degree, I was an athlete on one of the sports teams, I had a part-time job, and I also had an internship (for a couple of semesters) as part of my degree requirement. It sure was hard to find a balance between school, work, and a healthy social life. Looking back, here are some of the things that helped me succeed and not feel overwhelmed:

1. At the start of each week, I would map out what my week looked like. You can use a planner, the calendar on your phone, or any tool that will help you stay organized. I would write down any big tests or assignments that were due, my work shifts, practice schedule, etc. This helped go into the week knowing what I needed to prioritize and on what days I had some free time for social activities. For me, being really organized minimized my level of stress and helped me not take on too much. There's only so much time in the day, after all.

2. Joining a sports team was not only a great way to get involved in my school, but it was also a huge part of my social life. I felt like I "killed two birds with one stone" so to speak. As a freshman, I had an instant group of friends and going to practice was something I looked forward to. Even if it isn't sports, I recommend trying to find a club or other school-sponsored activity that contributes to the social life you want to have.

3. Don't forget to make self-care a priority. This is something I wish I would have known sooner. It's easy to get caught up in your studies and busy schedule. If you can schedule time for self-care on your weekly planner, do it! It could be as simple as going to the gym, getting lunch with a friend, etc. After all, it's hard to accomplish any of your goals if you aren't healthy (mentally and physically).

Good luck!

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Kevser’s Answer

Hi Theresa,

One way of balancing your school work with extra curricular activities and have time for friends and family at the same time is to be great at planning.

1. Use a calendar planner for all your schoolwork and your activities. It's a great way to visualise the things that needs to be done.

2. Plan ahead and prioritise - take your hardest assignments early on since they take longer to finish. Leaving work to last minute will be a major stress factor and will mess up your plans to spend time with friends.

3. Always remember to make time for having fun. Do things that you enjoy, whether that being sports, going to the cinema with friends or just relaxing at home with family/friends.

Good luck with everything.


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Richard’s Answer

Treat school like a job. Get up early, get to work and when your work is done at the end of the day, you can spend time on social life or organizations.

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