Balancing Your Social Life with Academics in College
Social life on a college campus offers a challenge for many students. College can be either a great opportunity to grow and mature as you progress into adult life or it can be a wild ride destined to end in a train wreck. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a middle ground where you’re having fun while keeping your grades up in order to get the most out of your time in school.
This can be a bigger struggle than it sounds. Your classes will take more of your time than you might prefer, and it can be really hard to turn down your friend’s party invite the night before an exam when all you want to do is turn up. There’s good news though! Most of what you need to do to succeed is be in the right frame of mind and build a few key habits into your lifestyle.
Be efficient with your time
One major way to make the most out of your time is learning to focus. There are plenty of distractions you’ll encounter while studying: your phone, your friends, and everything happening around you will all tug at your attention. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with replying to a text or chatting a little while doing your homework, but what you want to avoid is walking away from a study session saying “wow, I really didn’t get much done!” Just like how it’s usually not a good idea to excessively talk about work or school at a social gathering, you’ll do best keeping your mind in the game during your studying time so that you then have more time free to do other things.
Plan it out
Another way to be efficient is to make a tentative plan for your day before you embark in your daily activities. Scheduling might not be your cup of tea. However, it offers a great way to help avoid forgetting important things to do or finding yourself wasting time throughout the day figuring out what to do next. You don’t necessarily need to plan out the entire day minute-by-minute. However, start by making a list of important things to get done and crossing them off as you progress. Use this list to prioritize your schedule. Evaluate your schedule from time to time. Make changes as your needs change. Make sure you are managing your time, rather than your time managing you.
Realize you can’t do it all
Now for a reality check: there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything you’ll want to do. You may utilize techniques to make yourself more efficient and productive, but in the end, you’ll need to make decisions about what is most important to you. For example, you have an exam coming up tomorrow, but the student organization you’re a part of is having an important meeting tonight. Do you go to the meeting or use that time to study? Keeping your grades up is important, of course. However, involving yourself in campus social life offers other benefits. These include meeting people and networking, as well as building up your resume for when you graduate. Socializing also provides important stress relief. It’s up to you to decide what the best use of your time is.
Try thinking about the big picture and what things are most important to you. Some of those things might be getting good grades, building a resume, and getting physically and mentally fit. Others might include learning new skills, and having a social life. Each one of these things develops you and contributes to your life in a different way, and all are important. By putting your life priorities into words, you can start to apply these priorities to your day-to-day activities to determine what it is you’re getting out of them. From there, you can start to prioritize and make choices about what to do with your time based on what’s best for you right now and for your future.
Putting your goals into perspective and focusing on what matters to you will help you make choices about how to best balance your social and academic life. In doing so, you’ll make the most out of your time in college and feel like you’re taking charge of your life.