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5 Ways to Maintain Balance Between Work, School, and Life

John McClung
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Published on March 9, 2015

With the pressure of completing coursework, paying for school, and trying to enjoy your college experience, sometimes life can feel a little overwhelming to say the least. Between working, schoolwork, and maintaining a social life, it can seem like a daunting task to get everything done without feeling stressed, and we often have trouble maintaining a balanced schedule.

Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure you feel like a human, even when you’re actually a stressed-out college student. Here are 5 easy tips to help you attain—and maintain—balance throughout your college life: 

Keep an Updated Schedule
This is a great way to make use of the calendar app on your phone. Take the time to add your class schedule for the semester as well as any due dates for your assignments. Set aside specific times throughout the week to focus on things like homework, laundry, and the gym. If you work in retail and have a schedule that moves around each week, it can be difficult to stay consistent with plans. If this is the case, try to design your schedule when you find out your work hours each week.

Work Ahead (or just Don’t Procrastinate)
By procrastinating you are allowing your to-do list to grow and grow into an intimidating amount of work. Once all that work has piled up, it will be even harder to motivate yourself to get started. Getting ahead on readings, papers, and other assignments will help reduce procrastination-based stress while allowing more time in the future for hanging out with friends or just relaxing with a weekend of Netflix binging. Resources like Course Hero—which offers study resources, online tutoring, and digital flashcards—can help you study ahead and compare notes to past students who’ve taken your exact courses before.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep
We regularly hear about the benefits of getting more sleep, from maintaining a strong immune system to improving our moods, but we seldom manage to actually implement this advice. Sometimes we get so entrenched in our work that the high amount of stress and large workload can keep us from getting enough sleep. If you really take the time to improve the quality of your sleep,your stress levels will go down and you’ll be able to think more clearly and make fewer mistakes in your work.

Prioritize Your Work
Organize your work in a meaningful way based on when projects, papers, and other work events are due. Recurring things like homework and studying are easier to schedule ahead of time, but sometimes papers and projects tend to sneak up on you. Make sure to check your syllabus to see how different assignments are weighted. Important assignments like papers and exams can make the difference of a full letter grade (or two!) for a class. Prioritizing assignments will allow you to focus on what is most important first, and then knock out smaller assignments afterward. Knowing you’ve completed a major project and don’t have to worry about it hanging over your head can also help you to feel more balanced and relaxed.

Make Time for Yourself
Whether this means spending time with friends, visiting family, or even just taking a moment to relax by yourself, it is important for your well-being to have some time set aside away from work and school. Once you have finished important tasks, be sure to find some way to treat yourself and clear your head.

Following this simple advice might not melt all your stress away, but it will help you stay sane while still maintaining a busy schedule. And remember, you don’t have to go through it all alone! Be sure to take advantage of all the resources at your disposal, including Course Hero’s homework help and study resources.

John McClung

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