Balancing Life in College

Often times I find myself lost in the day to day stress of the school, work, life, and friend balance. Working over twenty hours per week, keeping up with the pace of college life, and maintaining friendships will eventually wear on the heart of a college student if not done correctly. The difficult aspect of striking an even balance in each of these areas not only looks different for everyone, but also takes time and great effort to accomplish. I am here to tell you that true success in college does not only rest with internships, grades or the recommendation letters that you get from your professors—though all of these things are important. Over the course of three years in college, I can attest that true contentment in college lies in the small victories and prioritization of what fulfills you. These tips and tricks have allowed me to find a rhythm while in school to be able to accommodate both work and play.

  1. GET ORGANIZED

    The hardest lesson I have had to learn is to write everything down or keep reminders in my phone. I personally love keeping a planner, but phones are great tools for keeping an electronic calendars and also setting reminders for upcoming events. The second step in getting organized for me was downloading Skoller. The app has been incredibly helpful to me in assuring that I do not miss an assignment. I have set my notifications to remind me before an assignment is due, and I am also able to keep up with what scores I need to make in order to earn a good grade in the class. Getting organized is the best form of self-care I could have adopted in college—Skoller has been a lifesaver so far and I would highly recommend it to any fellow undergraduate or graduate student!

  2. MAKE TIME FOR WHAT YOU LOVE

    As important as prioritizing school and work is in college, I have found it to be equally needed to make time for what you love. Though your schedule will grow increasingly busy in college, allowing room for hobbies, friends, and family will alleviate stress and remind you of what is most important in life. Studies show that there has been a rise in college students reporting high amounts of stress and anxiety—this is why it is SO important to ground yourself with both things and people you love.

  3. ASK FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT

    The real story of college is that you cannot do it all by yourself—when juggling classes, work, internships, and relationships, something is likely to fall through the cracks. Though asking for help might mean setting your pride aside, you will thank yourself for it in the long run. If you are experiencing difficulties in class, utilize your professor’s office hours for questions or concerns. If there is a need you have experienced at work or within friendships, reach out and express your thoughts. Honesty is always the best policy. More often than not, people are willing to meet you where you are in order to accomplish a common goal. Most importantly, if you feel that your mental health is beginning to decline for any reason, seeking professional help is of the utmost importance. Speaking to a counselor or therapist often aids in alleviating stress and provides a third party point of view to what you are going through. Plus, most college campuses offer free or low-cost counseling services to students and are able to make outside referrals to other mental health professionals—use the resources around you!

These three steps to balancing life in college have allowed me freedom both mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. By organizing and prioritizing my school work and extracurricular involvements, I have created so much more room for myself to enjoy the people and hobbies that I love so dearly. However, I have found the most important step in balancing life in college was to seek professional help when I needed it. I have been able to deal with stress much more effectively by speaking weekly with a therapist whom challenges me to work smarter both in and out of the college scene.

Lexie McCarty