Student Blog

The Top 7 Ways to Achieve Balance in College

Posted by Colleen Reding on Sep 6, 2016 1:06:44 PM

1. Remember to get what you came for... an education!


Photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via / CC BY

When you get to college, you may become quickly overwhelmed by all the opportunities available to you. Should I cover breaking news for the college paper? Should I sling espresso shots at sleepy coffeeshop patrons? Should I learn how to play Quidditch? Is that even a real thing? These might be some of the questions creeping up as you begin your college career. College students typically spend less than 15 hours a week in class, seemingly leaving plenty of time for sports, jobs, or extracurricular activities. But while the opportunity to explore your passions, meet people who share your interests, and fully immerse yourself in new experiences are part of what makes college so transformative, these co-curriculars can quickly consume your outside-of-class hours and leave you cramming at exam time. The key to achieving academic success is prioritizing your studies over your student involvement and realizing that you came to college to obtain a quality education!

2. Quality not quantity... Embrace the FOMO.

In college, there are simply not enough seconds in the day to do everything you want to. Don't let FOMO (fear of missing out) hijack your schedule. Rather than signing up for every club imaginable at the Freshman Fair, spend time thinking critically about where you want to make your mark on campus. By investing significant time in one activity rather than dabbling in a multitude, you will increase your chances of making a significant contribution and building lasting friendships. This strategy will also help you when you begin applying for internships and jobs. Employers will want to see that you took on leadership roles within a limited number of extracurriculars and will not necessarily be wowed by your membership status in everything from the Parkour Society to the Squirrel Club.




3. You do you...

Whether you like to sweat it out in spin class or splurge on 7-Eleven Slurpee pilgrimages (just me?), it’s important to carve out some quality “me” time. Remembering to keep your wellness a priority is critical to sustaining a successful collegiate schedule and creating habits that will help you even after you receive your degree.

4. Know you’re not alone...

The best (and most humbling) thing you will quickly learn in college is that higher education professionals have seen and heard everything before. From “I lost my goats” (shout-out to these Naval Academy midshipmen) to “There’s a fire truck on the roof” (and to these MIT pranksters), there are few things that you can say to professors and advisors that will truly shock them. Be sure to take advantage of the many resources that universities have available to help you. Offering everything from tutoring services to mental health centers to retreats, universities are designed with students in mind. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!

5. Multitask...

Studying while socializing sounds counterintuitive, right? Professor Richard Light of Harvard University says this is not so. In fact, Professor Light makes the case that students who study in groups have a better shot at success than those who do not… particularly when it comes to studying for science classes. Forming a study group can be a great way to build friendships, stay focused on set goals, and learn from your peers!

6. Choose a smart study space...

One mistake that college students often make is failing to spend enough time thinking about where they will make best use of their time studying. Some students might spend considerable time in the library but dedicate the cubicle hours to crafting the perfect Spotify list. Others might try to work from home while warding off distractions from siblings or roommates. A few students might try replicate those picturesque Admissions brochures and read a book under a tree in the yard...and quickly become more interested in a game of frisbee. Whatever strategy you choose, be sure to evaluate how well your study station is working for you, and make any changes early in the semester!

7. Maintain perspective...

You are so lucky! You are furthering your education, exploring the limitless possibilities in front of you, and meeting people who will inspire and impact you throughout your entire life. Here’s an oldie but goodie lest you forget what’s truly important…



Topics: student success, students