Finding balance as a college student

Finding the right balance. Photo courtesy of

As college students, we have a lot on our plate. School, work, campus organizations, social life, exercise and the list goes on. Our schedules can be overwhelming and become tough to manage. The key to success is the right balance between all of these things.

The most important thing is prioritizing. At the start of every day write down what is due for either work, or school and what time you need to have it finished. If something is due a couple days, or weeks from now try to work on it during your free time so you don’t get overwhelmed rushing to get things done. There may be times you have to sacrifice partying during the weekdays, or hanging out with friends in order to get your work finished, but it will be worth it.

Chad Hunter, a graduate sociology student-athlete, puts school above everything.

“You balance school, work and self care by taking care of your priorities first,” Hunter said. “School is the most important. You can manage your job and self-care around your schoolwork.”

But Hunter agrees that balancing is a difficult thing to do.

“The hardest part about balancing it all is staying on top of everything. You might find days where you are so drained where you don’t feel like doing anything, but you have to remember your why.”

With so much on your plate, it’s crucial to have some sort of tool to manage it all. There are several organizational tools you can utilize including: a planner, a whiteboard calendar, the calendar app on your phone, to do lists, etc.

Charlene Fryson, a nursing student at Tallahassee Community College, balances school, working and self-care by planning ahead and staying on top of things.

“Pacing myself and utilizing my calendar and planner takes away a lot of stress,” said Fryson. “If something did pop up anywhere I’ll already have my plans in place.”

Everyone is different and it’s important to find the method that works best for you. Some people may even utilize more than one. It will be important to enter all homework, exam and event dates so you don’t forget anything. As time goes on, you want to run over all the dates and make sure you are adequately preparing for them in advance. This will become essential during exam time when things seem to be the most hectic.

Don’t forget about your health.

While school, work and other commitments may seem to be flooding your life, it’s crucial to remember that your health and wellbeing is important too. Sometimes it’s easy to forget this and neglect ourselves. One of the hardest parts about balancing everything is feeling like you don’t have time to stop and acknowledge your accomplishments. After you complete one task you move on to another and that’s what causes stress to build up.

Despite all of your responsibilities, you need to be eating regularly and healthy, getting the right amount of exercise and getting a good amount of sleep. In addition, relaxation and “me time” is essential too. This will help your emotional stability and keep you in the right headspace. Personally, when I’m feeling a little stressed out, I like to catch up on some sports games I’ve missed.

Shakilya Hopkins, a nursing student at Tallahassee Community College, is currently juggling school, two jobs and being a full-time mom. After working both jobs Hopkins has about four hours for homework and to spend time with her son.

“24 hours doesn’t seem like enough time to complete all those tasks but I have to make it work,” said Hopkins. “When I’m free or feeling myself getting stressed I treat myself to getting a wax, nails and hair done.”

It’s so important to reach out if you feel like you’re struggling. College can be really tough and stressful. Reach out to your TA, or other study groups at your school if you’re having trouble in class. Go to your professor’s office hours. Ask your boss for different, or less hours if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Visit your school’s health center if you’re feeling mentally unwell and want to see a therapist.