College is a time of learning and adapting. There are opportunities for new jobs and relationships, not to mention changes in living environments and academic workloads. Managing so many responsibilities at once can quickly become stressful. Finding a way to get everything done at school and at work while staying involved in a community can seem difficult, if not impossible. What’s a student to do?
Here are four ways you can balance your academic, work and social life:
1. Prioritize. The first step to managing your responsibilities is to know what’s important. Be careful that your job doesn’t overwhelm your academics. Make your education your priority; there are always summer breaks and school holidays where you can get more hours.
When it comes to schoolwork, it can be tempting to focus on more exciting projects or spend time relaxing rather than studying for tests or getting homework done. Instead, mentally or physically organize upcoming assignments by due date and workload. Get your assignments done first and with enough time to spare. Procrastinating will only lead to more stress and less quality work. Once you have your work done, you will be able to enjoy your free time more.
2. Set boundaries. Once you’ve determined what’s important and when you need to get it done, be sure to devote your full attention to it. Start with focusing on one task at a time. For work, give yourself enough time to arrive on time and while you’re there, resist the urge to use your phone. When you’re working on homework, turn off distractions and go somewhere you can focus.
Afterwards, take some time with friends and let yourself relax without worrying about upcoming assignments. Be sure to plan and work ahead, but don’t stress yourself prematurely. Instead, follow your plan, take each assignment as it comes and work as needed.
3. Stay involved. You may feel that you don’t want to socialize outside of work or that you get enough interaction during your classes. It can be easier to stay home and sleep than attend social gatherings or church services. However, it’s important to stay connected spiritually and socially.
Spending time with others, especially Christ, is key to keeping you encouraged, strengthened and supported in all areas of your life. Keep time with friends and family in your schedule. Regularly attend a Bible study, small group or church service. It may feel difficult at first, but staying involved with your community will be worth it in the long run.
4. Make time for rest. As counterintuitive as it may seem, rest is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy, balanced life. A lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to allergies and sickness; and mental stress can lead to a variety of health problems from anxiety to increased risk of infection and heart disease.
Be sure to get enough sleep each night. Treat your rest as important as your other responsibilities by eliminating distractions and giving yourself enough time to get the sleep you need. Schedule times to do relaxing, enjoyable things throughout your week, even if it’s just taking a walk outdoors or watching a movie. Time spent resting is not wasted when done in moderation and should be given as much attention as the other priorities in your life.
Managing responsibilities can be difficult, but there are things you can do to stay balanced and focused. Prioritize what’s most important and schedule times to work on each task. Stay connected with those around you, as being in a godly community is crucial to helping you stay supported and encouraged. Remember that you can only do so much, and that taking time to rest is just as important as your other responsibilities.