For students, college life is a balancing act. It is a new experience for everyone, and it sometimes takes time to find stability between your school, work, and social life. The beginning of each school year poses the same dilemma for most college students – to work or not to work? While you want to have as much free time as possible to earn straight A’s and hang out with your friends, you also want to have money to support yourself while living away from home.
Many college students need to work while they attend school, while others just want some extra money so they don’t need to bother their parents for it. Each student that chooses to get a job adds another factor into their balancing act, making it all the more complicated. Next to academia, time management is one of the most important skills to learn in college and conquer before hitting the real world. The demands of school, work, and a social life leave you stressed and exhausted which will in turn negatively affect everything around you.
To help keep your balance, buy a planner, or take advantage of your cell phone’s calendar planning capabilities. A planner will help you map out school assignments, work commitments, and personal activities. When you see exactly when things are due in a calendar format, it makes it easier to create to-do lists that help keep your life organized. Writing important reminders down can also help your memory function. The University Bookstore sells affordable planners in a variety of sizes to help accommodate students’ needs.
After you are settled in your class schedule, look for a job that offers flexible hours that will work around your class schedule. Make sure you explain to your boss that you are a full-time student, and will need to take time off during finals to study, or whenever you feel overwhelmed with school work.
Once you have a job, make a set schedule – whether it is certain days during the week or on the weekends. It is much easier to plan your weeks when you know exactly when you will be in class and when you will be at work. That way you know exactly how much free time you have each day, making it simple to decide when to do your school work and when to hang out with your friends.
Balance your social life so that you participate in campus sponsored events, or become active in an organization. Interacting with other students on campus is a great way to develop your intellect while still having fun at the same time. Campus sponsored events are always a good way to unwind from a hectic work week.
While all this may seem a little overwhelming, it is important not to overwork yourself. Expect to work less shifts than you normally would during the summer when school is not in full session. This is for the best. If you are working yourself to exhaustion you are going to see the side-effects in your grades and overall well-being.
Don’t ever forget to make time to relax and have fun. If your life is consumed solely by work and school, your head is bound to explode. This is not to say you should use all of your free time to go out and party with your friends.
It is important to get a good amount of sleep, eat well, and clear your head with exercise and relaxation.
Be easy on yourself, as things do not always go as planned. When there is a glitch in your schedule, do not freak out – just go with the flow. Not every single minute of your life should be planned to a tee.
The important thing is to maintain a healthy balance, stay organized, and don’t forget the spontaneous moments that make college life so special.
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