How to Balance School and Social Life in College
It is no secret that the college experience is a unique one. A college campus is the only place where you will be surrounded by peers who are working toward common academic goals, looking for a place to fit in socially, exploring the possibilities for their future and learning to balance all of life’s responsibilities. For a lot of college students, moving to college marks the first time that they have lived independently, and college is where they learn practical things like cooking, cleaning and other skills in addition to what they are taught in their classes. Exciting as it may be, there is no doubt that college life is difficult.
One of the most difficult challenges that college students face is how to balance their schoolwork with their social life. Study too much, and you’ll be stressed, anxious and increase your risk of suffering from low self-esteem. Spend too much time socializing, and you’ll fall behind in your classes, which can lead to doing poorly in your classes — or worse, failing and being forced to take the classes again. Nobody is perfect at time management, and everybody could use a little help now and then. Whether you are a new freshman wanting to start your college experience on the right foot, or an experienced college student in need of some advice on how to manage your workload, here is a short guide on how to better balance school and social life in college.
Set Manageable Goals
There are plenty of benefits associated with setting goals. Setting long- and short-term goals will help keep you disciplined and focused on the bigger picture. Of course, it is important to set academic goals, but what most people often don’t realize is that it is equally as important to set social goals as well. Remember: college is about balance, and spending time with friends has a large influence on mental health. Here are a few examples of practical, manageable goals that you might set while attending college:
- Spend 2 hours each weekday studying.
- Hang out with friends one weekday night and one weekend night every week.
- Attend a study group once every two weeks.
- Finish next week’s homework by this Saturday.
Keep an Updated Schedule
This is one of the easiest and most rewarding steps you can take to balance your college work with your social life. Utilizing the online calendar that most schools provide on their website or a calendar app on your phone will help to motivate you, keep your work organized, and help you stay on top of your studies so you can spend more time with friends, and not be stressed about homework when you do. Here’s how you can best use your calendar to help you balance school and social life in college:
- Upload the due dates for all upcoming assignments. This way, you will have easy access to all due dates, and be able to plan your work accordingly, prioritizing work that is due sooner so as to avoid missing any deadlines.
- Schedule study time. Dedicating specific times during the week to studying will keep you on task and motivated. It will also prevent you from spending too much time with friends and not enough time with schoolwork. During your designated study time, be sure to remove all distractions, and refrain from browsing the internet or looking at your phone.
- Make social plans in advance. When you schedule your social time beforehand, you will be less likely to obsess over all of the homework you have yet to finish while you are with your friends. It will also help you to be more selective of which invitations you accept, and not accept an excessive amount of spontaneous friendly invitations that will detract from your study time.
Join a School-Sponsored Club or Organization
Every college has a wide selection of clubs and organizations. Joining a club will help you to socialize with other students who likely share similar academic goals. Participating in an organization related to what you are studying will kill two birds with one stone by providing you with useful and relevant knowledge, and invaluable social experiences. Plus, it will help you get the most of your college experience, making it an adventure you won’t soon forget!