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Let’s be real — being a college student is tough. You’re paying thousands of dollars to attend a higher ed institution, trying to figure out what career path is right for you, living away from home and making new friends. It’s easy to become overwhelmed, making it challenging to balance your social life vs. academics.
Below are 10 tips on how to balance your social and academic life so you can graduate on time — and have some fun while you’re at it!
1. Budget Your Time
College is a great time to develop your time management skills. A good way to develop these skills is to do a time audit. Ask yourself how you spend your time now and set actionable goals for using your time from now on.
Consider using a planner to write down all the things you need to complete daily, as well as important appointments or meetings.
2. Stay Organized
Did you know that 54% of college students feel that being organized would help them get better grades, yet 47% felt their high school did not adequately prepare them to be organized?
Good organization is another skill you should develop during your college career. Stay organized by setting reminders in your planner or smartphone calendar, file your schoolwork in color-coded folders and keep your dorm room neat.
3. Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are not your common goals — the acronym “SMART” stands for: specific, measurable, achievable (or attainable), realistic (or reasonable) and time-bound. Create SMART goals that align with your social and academic goals.
You can set goals to improve your study times, increase the number of social events you attend or other personal goals. Be sure to outline your goals and follow the SMART acronym to guide you.
4. Prioritize Your Health
It’s common for college students to get rundown when they’re busy managing their school responsibilities and social lives.
You might catch a cold or have aches and pains. To find balance in your life, you must prioritize your physical health. Make sure to eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of water, go on walks often and practice deep breathing.
5. Lean on Your Support System
Your mental well-being is just as important as your physical well-being, especially in college. Mental health matters and yours is no exception!
Since college can be highly stressful, communicate with your support system. It could be your parents, a sibling, an academic advisor or a trusted friend. Lean on your loved ones and seek professional counseling if you feel overwhelmed trying to find balance or need mental health advice.
6. Take Breaks
We all need a break sometimes. Slow down and clear your schedule for some dedicated self-care time. You can engage in activities you enjoy, whether going to the gym, visiting the spa, spending time with your family or reading a new book.
Schedule breaks into your calendar to avoid burnout, a common type of stress college students experience.
7. Keep Stress Levels at a Minimum
By the same token, keeping your stress levels down when you can is critical when balancing your social and school life. Whether schoolwork is piling up, it’s finals week or drama in your friend group, be sure to engage in stress-reduction activities.
As mentioned before, going to the gym or going for walks, tapping into your creativity, reading, cooking or other fun activities can help keep your stress levels manageable so you can feel at ease.
8. Avoid Being a Perfectionist
If you’re more Type A than Type B, you probably find yourself trying to make everything perfect. A major downside of striving for perfection is that it can be challenging to handle falling short of those high expectations.
Instead, set thoughtful intentions or goals to help you manage your daily tasks. Accept that not every assignment will be perfect or receive an A+ grade. If you can avoid perfectionism, you’re better able to strike a balance between social life vs. academics.
9. Learn to Say No
Nobody wants to say, “No, I can’t tonight,” when asked to go out with friends or that you can’t attend a campus event. However, learning to say no will teach you to set appropriate boundaries with those around you.
By no means does this require you to say no to every event or night out, but learning how to decline invitations properly is a skill you’ll use for the rest of your life.
10. Practice Mindfulness
Our final tip to help you balance your social life vs. academics is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is essentially being in the present moment — not living in the past or worrying about the future.
You can practice mindfulness right now. Think about yourself reading this article and try to focus without worrying about what you will do next. Consider taking up meditation, as it’s a great way to put mindfulness into practice.
Balance Your Social and Academic Life to Enjoy Your College Experience
The transition from high school to college is a big one. While it does come with fun, new experiences, it also comes with its fair share of challenges, such as balancing social and academic responsibilities.
Thankfully, you’re not alone, as many college students experience challenges while making this huge transition. Consider using these 10 tips outlined above to help you manage your schoolwork and stay social at the same time.