Balance. One of the most fundamental tips most university students receive is to create balance in their lives, otherwise even simple tasks become burdens and success becomes a far-off dream. For any university student time management is the key to success. However, balance is something every student struggles with throughout their student life. If I could pick only one thing to change about myself it would be to change my lack time-management skills. In my defence, I do have to say that I have gotten much better over the past couple of years and can say that I am no longer a total disaster when it comes to finding balance in life.
When I started university, it seemed like balancing class, studying, extra-curricular activities, and having a somewhat of a social life was an impossible feat. I thought I had to sacrifice one of those aspects, most likely my social life, if I wanted to succeed academically.
After much experimentation with different time-management techniques, and after much failure at doing so, I have found some methods that work for me. I believe it is totally possible to do well academically, have a good extra-curricular record, and still have a decent social life.
So how do I do it? How do I manage all these aspects of my life without falling apart? The most helpful thing I learned is to plan. At the beginning of each semester I always start by using my course syllabi to highlight important dates such as midterms, exams, and assignments on monthly calendars. (I print out calendar templates from Word!). Then at the beginning of each week I write up a detailed plan for everything I have coming up and everything I need to get done. I believe that one should tackle life one week at a time rather a day at time. This way you know when you are busy during the week and when you can schedule in time to relax or do something fun. Also, lately I’ve tried making “done” lists rather than “to-do” lists, because this gives me a sense of accomplishment and encourages me to keep adding to the list, rather than shutting down from the anxiety of looking at a endless “to-do” list.
The most important thing I learned was to prioritize and only take on responsibilities and tasks that I know I will be able to successfully complete. During first year I joined way too many clubs and took on too many responsibilities which eventually effected my ability to do well in my classes. I quickly learned that academics should always be my priority and that extra-curriculars should be taken on when I have free time as a supplement to my education, and should never over-shadow it. The same goes for my social life. I think it so important to take a break from work and school to do something enjoyable with friends and family. Never think that socializing is not important. It is essential for a healthy state of mind and a well-rounded life, however, I always remind myself that parties and social events should not hinder me from doing well academically.
I hope my experience with finding balance and learning how to manage my time was of some help to you. I am sure every student has their own struggles with this and overtime we have picked up on some techniques and tips that work for us, so be sure to share in the comments section!
Until next time!