Hey pals. College is tough. After you just pulled a couple all-nighters trying to stretch your three page paper to ten. I am sure you got asked the typical school-break questions, “How is college? You look like you are having fun!” What they don’t see on Facebook is our body trying to balance it all. When we stretch ourselves with classes, clubs, student-work life, we can feel overwhelmed, and when we feel this, we get stressed.
College should be some of the best years of your life, where you make the deepest connections with people while you get involved in leadership and organizations. As an involved college student, I am apart of the softball team, Vice President of the student body, a student-worker at Marketing and Communications as a Social Media Strategist, and I am a member of the Student Alumni Council. My coffee and planner are my best friends. However, I didn’t always have it together. I had to practice, just like in softball, how to balance my life. I had to work on three things that I hope helps you in this blog: Having a routine, saying no, and knowing yourself.
I love routines. I feel calm when I stick to my schedule and ready to take on my day with a clear heart. I’m going to use my Monday as an example.
5:30 a.m. Wake up
6:00 a.m. Morning workout
7:00 a.m. Shower/Hair/Make-up
8:00 a.m. Library
10:00 a.m. Chapel
11:00 a.m. Classes
3:00 p.m. Finish homework
5:00 p.m. Dinner
6:00 Relax/Finish homework
9:30 p.m. Read/Bed
You read that right, I try to be in bed and asleep BEFORE 11 p.m. Some nights it doesn’t always work out, but five out of the seven days, do not come to my door past 10 p.m. I found that doing my homework in the morning and throughout my day helps me be the most productive and retain the most information. I am that person that will go to the library, have a conversation with you, then continue that conversation for another two hours. That is why I love the library in the morning. It is quiet. I can focus. If I go back to the library at a peak time, I will talk to everybody and I will get nothing done. But that’s not how everyone works! I had to figure out what worked best for me and fall into this routine.
After looking at my involvements, you would think I said yes to everything. I wish I did, but then I would have stretched myself too thin. There was a time last spring, where I was asked to be on a committee that would add another item to my resume. However, when I looked at my list of things to do, I knew it would be too much. When I declined the offer, I still have a great relationship with the man in charge of the committee!
Saying no doesn’t always mean telling someone else no, it means telling yourself no too. I am what they call a “college workaholic”. I love my job. I love being in the Marketing Office all day and learning new things, or working on projects, but sometimes after I work my hours I have to tell myself to leave. I explain to myself, “You worked your required hours, now go have coffee with a friend.” It is not easy. This is something that took me the longest to understand that it is okay. You have to take care of yourself and say no to things that are excess weight in your life. Say no to good things, so you can say yes to the best things.
You know yourself best. You tend to know when you’re stressed, happy, or at a good balance, but sometimes we don’t know our strengths and weaknesses too well. We have to figure out who we are when we are balancing all these things. I know that I am a morning person, so I will get the most done in the morning with a cup of coffee in my hand. Maybe you are a night owl, so sleeping in to get that extra stretch at night is your thing. We all have a thing, we just have to find it to be productive.
Maybe you are an extrovert like me and going to the library is hard for you to get stuff done. Earbuds and a ball cap will save your life. Pop those buds in, tip your hat down, and you take those chem notes without any disruptions. Find what works for you! If you are struggling with balancing it all, try different things! Wake up earlier one week and go to the library, schedule out a time at two p.m. and go to a local coffee shop. There is something for everyone.
At the end of the day, please talk to your friends. God has them in your life for a reason, build a connection with them. Text them, Facetime them, share a meal with those wonderful humans! I struggled with keeping my friendships when I got really busy. Make sure they are still on the priority list and that you and them, feel loved. Because you are.
Challenges to Balance the Grind in Your Life
- Know and use your planner
- Fall into a routine
- Know your strengths and your weaknesses