A lot of students anticipate the time they will be going to university. Who hasn’t dreamt of the classes they’ll be taking, the people they’ll meet or how much fun they’ll have once they leave school and start the next chapter of their life?
Unfortunately, going to university is not all fun and games. Despite what many people imagine, university students don’t just spend their time hanging out with friends. Some students have part-time jobs as well as other commitments. Even those who are studying full-time know they have to put in long hours to keep up with their studies, university clubs and other extra-curricular activities.
As such, finding the right balance between studying and their personal life is tricky, but it can be done. Here are some suggestions on how you can achieve that balance.
Create a Schedule
Despite our best intentions to allot enough time for studying, life has a way of creeping up on you. It’s so hard to stay on schedule when you have a full class load, tests and several projects looming on the horizon. It’s even worse if you also have other obligations, such as work or in your school organisation.
One common advice students always hear is to create a schedule and stick to it. It might sound cliché but it is a method which works. Take the time to draw up a schedule before the semester starts. Then as the weeks go by and you’re assigned deadlines, plot them out accordingly. Visually seeing how many days you have makes it easier to determine which tasks to prioritise and which ones can be left for later.
Buy a planner or make your own. It’s even better if you put it somewhere that you, your family or room mates can see. This way they’re aware of when you need to buckle down and study.
Make Goals and Follow them Through
Motivation is key to surviving and thriving during the semester. Setting a goal is one good way to encourage yourself for the coming term. It could be something major like scoring that high-distinction for a subject or as simple as handing over projects on time. Try to set small but important steps that will help you reach your goal. For instance, commit to working on your paper two hours a day for a week. You can even reward yourself once you have finished that step. These small victories will keep you stoked and help keep you on track.
Creating goals is a great habit to develop and can help you in a variety of areas in your life. They keep you focused and help motivate you even when you feel overwhelmed with study, work or life.
Set Boundaries and Learn to say “no”
One big challenge that university students face is saying “no” to peers or teachers. Students might feel reluctant to turn down a recommendation to head a certain project or an invitation to go to a party. This leads to cramming and late night studying to make sure you get that assignment completed on time. It’s important for students to set boundaries and learn to say no, especially when they have a deadline to meet or a test to study for. Remember that there’s always time to party once the semester has ended. You can also talk honestly to your teacher if you need help with a project.
Take a Break
It’s also imperative that you take a break. Every student should be conscious of when they have to step back and relax. For instance, if you’ve been reading the same paragraph for over 10 minutes and still can’t grasp the information, it might be time to close the book and rest. Go outside and take a short walk. Grab a snack or drink some water. Taking a few hours or even a day off will clear your head and refresh you. And when you return to the task at hand, you’ll find that you’re more focused and productive.
Expand your Social Circle
Going to university is a marvellous time to meet new friends and expand your social circle. It might seem daunting at first but your time at uni will go easier and become more fun if you have friends with you. So take a breath, smile at a classmate and say “hi.”
Remember that you’re all experiencing the same things – deadlines, homework, new environment. Join a club or attend a study session. There are lots of ways to bring new people into your circle and friends can help make your time at uni a lot easier.
Don’t forget, Take Care of Yourself
In the bustle of meeting deadlines, studying, meeting friends and making time for family, you might overlook someone very important – yourself. YOU have to take care of yourself as well. This means getting enough sleep, exercising and eating healthy. There will undoubtedly be times when you need to forgo sleep or order take-out, but try to minimise its frequency. A healthy lifestyle will keep you focused, help you cope with stress and maintain your sanity throughout the semester.
The demands of university life are challenging. But you can find that perfect balance between your studies and your personal life. Make the effort to do so and you’ll enjoy some of the best years of your life.
Central College Online is a part of the Group Colleges of Australia organisation which has been established for over thirty years and offers online courses in more than forty subjects to thousands of students.