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  • Writer's pictureJamie Herter

Student-Life Balance, as Told by a Third Year Student

Do you ever feel anxious, and overwhelmed with school? I think the majority of students would say yes. Midterm season has come, and now it’s time for finals. Deadlines are fast approaching, and this last month can be overwhelming. What you need to keep in mind is that you need to stay balanced in this last stretch of the semester. Balance is arguably one of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So why do so many students struggle with making this balance a priority? Well, we will dive into some tips I’ve learned in my three years of being a university student.

1. Take Breaks

Personally, in my first year, I had a hard time allowing myself to take breaks from my schoolwork. I would go off to do something and feel a looming cloud of guilt. This would lead to my breaks being me scrolling through Instagram with a textbook open... for hours. This isn’t a break. Breaks are stepping away from your work to reset; after all, life should be more than just spending hours with your nose in a textbook. Breaks are important for maintaining a good balance. So the question is what are the most beneficial breaks to balance your crazy schedule? It is totally up to you! For me, I'd define my most productive breaks as something that can help me achieve a goal, alleviate stress, or satisfy an essential need. When I take breaks from studying I try to go to the gym to alleviate stress, while working on my fitness goals. This makes me immensely happier mentally and physically.

You could also opt to spend time with the ones you care about the most or even make a nutritious lunch to fuel your mind. Sometimes the best thing is to just chill. Take some time to reflect, and get back to being you.

2. Stay Organized

In order to maintain a state of stability, you must be aware of what your priorities are. This is an important step to determining what you are after, and what you need to be done/accomplished first. This doesn’t have to apply to just school. If your priorities are seeking to improve your resume or land an interview, and that right now is more important than school, so be it! Make sure you understand what comes first to you, and make sure to schedule around that. Don’t overload your schedule with social events that you will eventually cancel because of things that weren’t accounted for. I know a lot of people say to keep an agenda or a calendar, but for some people that simply won’t work for them. Again, do what’s best for you. Some people make to-do lists, others put reminders on their phone. There’s an awesome Homework app that can help you keep track of all your schoolwork. It’s called myHomework Student Planner and can be downloaded on the App Store and Googleplay.

I find for me personally, it’s best to keep a monthly calendar and a weekly agenda. Every Sunday I analyze my week and pinpoint where I have any free time. I have a section for school and a section for my personal life on my weekly agenda. Separating it down the middle makes it easy for me to notice if my school side is beefed up, then I know to book my appointment for another day. Be aware of events, work, and upcoming due dates. This is probably the most crucial thing in order to spend your time doing other things. When you get your priorities done first, you can enjoy yourself.

3. Take Care of Yourself

What does this statement really mean to you? Everyone is different and everyone needs different things to excel and feel good. So do those things to stay sane, and healthy. You need to always put yourself first. This is the foundation for positively affecting how everything else works around you, not only in school but in life as well. If you’re hungry, dehydrated, sleep-deprived, you are not going to be able to focus and work well. Once this cycle has started it’s difficult to abruptly end. Make healthy decisions for you. You are the only one who knows your body and knows how well you can work. For optimal results feed yourself food that your body will appreciate, take your vitamins, get outside, be active, and put yourself out there! All these things can assist in making you feel better and more confident. This all comes back around to what you want your cycle, and future to look like. Start strong and end strong.

4. Set Goals

This is a good thing to always keep in mind when you’re trying to balance your life with school. Think to yourself, what do I want to accomplish this coming year? What am I looking for with my Education? How can I get there? Keeping your goals in mind will help you map out the steps you need to take and achieve. Do not get stuck in the daily routine of writing notes just to aim for a good grade. Recognize that the work you are putting in is to help improve your knowledge that you can use in bettering yourself, and accomplishing your goals. You are most likely in school to have more opportunities available to you in the workforce. Keep your long term goals in mind. Crush it.

Hopefully, these tips can help you balance your life with this assignment and exam filled season. I am nowhere near an expert in this field, but I did want to share my insights to hopefully make some of you feel better, or more motivated. Remember you do need to buckle down this time of year, but do not exhaust yourself! Good luck, and happy studying!

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