It’s no secret that being in college is a huge time commitment. Students typically prioritize academics, but in addition to their course load, there’s extracurricular activities, jobs, a social life, and mental and physical health that all need to be considered as well. Being a sophomore this semester, I’m starting to realize more than ever that managing my time and stress levels is a daunting task. Despite the fact that balancing it all can be quite intimidating, I’ve found that it is definitely doable if you put some thought and effort into it. Planning is the key to all of it, but there are some specific goals I like to keep in mind when I’m allocating my time to certain tasks.
The first is to keep up with my studies. With so much going on, it’s hard to remember sometimes that your education really should come first. Although sometimes it’s necessary, it’s not ideal to always be cramming for that exam or quiz. I find that it just causes more stress and I don’t usually perform as well. Instead, I try to figure out which classes I need to devote more time to and those that I don’t in order to balance my studying better and not get behind. Through some trial and error, find study habits that work for you personally and allow you to be more efficient with your time.
As important as your academics are, college is a once in a lifetime experience that you want to enjoy and appreciate. Studying 24/7 can cause unhealthy amounts of stress, so I make a conscious effort to find time to restore my mental and physical health. For example, I mentor elementary school children through a program called Big Brothers Big Sisters once a week. Although it’s another activity that I have to devote my time to, it lowers my stress levels and I feel like I’m doing something productive to make a difference in someone else’s life. Scheduling some down time with friends, whether it’s just for lunch or for a fun event on campus also helps to take my mind off schoolwork and helps me feel like I’m not missing out when it comes to my social life. I also try to make time for my physical health. I take weekly polo lessons through UConn’s practicum, and it’s a great way to stay active and have fun with friends!
Finally, when things get tough, I always remind myself to lean on my support group. For me, this typically includes my family and close friends. Sometimes it’s even good to go to others in your major for support because it’s likely they’ll understand what you’re going through (academically at least) better than anyone else, and they can give you tips on how they manage all of it. This semester I’m pledging for an agricultural sorority called Sigma Alpha, and most of the girls that are involved have very similar academic interests to myself. I’m looking forward to having them as a resource and support for times when I’m stressed out or need advice.
Balancing your time in college can be a hassle, but if you put some effort into it and keep tabs on your stress you’re sure to be successful!