The average day in a student’s life is filled with classes, group projects, assignments and essays. Your mind is often plagued with issues like how to get extra credit and boost your CGPA.
When you are done getting through school work, the natural course of action would be to unwind with friends, colleagues, and family. There are parties to attend, restaurants to try out, and movies to watch.
Being a student is an overwhelming position. There is a tendency to get hung up with studies and forfeit our social life to maintain a good grade. This could lead to you missing out on creating memories with your friends.
It is equally possible to lose sight of why we are in school and get carried away with having a good time. You will end up not acquiring any new skills or knowledge – your main purpose for being in school.
So how do we strike a balance between these two important aspects of our lives? Below we listed 5 practical steps you can take to build a healthy balance between your school tasks and relationships.
Not everyone wants to hear this, but when it comes to studies and friends/family, studies win by a landslide. After all, the main purpose of being in school is to study and acquire new skills.
Your family wouldn’t be happy to know that you didn’t accomplish that goal because you were too busy making them not miss you.
Your friends should also be understanding enough to accept that your number one priority is school. And that if you have to choose between school and them, you will choose your studies. If they are fine with that reality, then congratulations, you have very caring friends.
Writing down your goals for all you intend to accomplish will help you focus on what is important. It is an effective way to find a balance between school and your social life.
Communicate your needs
This is one of the most important steps on this list. In my opinion, if you can get this one right, it would make the other steps easier to follow.
Admittedly, every discipline requires hard work. However, we can’t deny that some fields require more dedication than others. A good example would be Medicine and Surgery. When you’re in a field of study that needs more dedication, it is advisable to make this known to your friends and family.
Make them understand that you need more time for studying, getting assignments done, or attending lectures. Also, try to let them know why it is important that you don’t compromise those activities.
Perhaps you are on a scholarship and have to maintain a certain GPA to continue enjoying the benefit. Or you plan to further your studies after school and want to finish strong to raise your chance of getting admitted to a Masters program.
Once you can communicate your needs like this with the people in your life, it becomes easier for them to respect your boundaries and need for study time. Also, try to have them communicate their needs with you. This would help you plan how to spend time with them better.
Spend quality time with each other
Whenever you have the opportunity to spend time with your friends and family, be sure to make it count. Don’t get together just to stare at your phones the whole time or simply watch a movie without saying a word to each other. Actually, get to experience each other’s presence.
Rather than go to a restaurant, consider cooking a meal yourselves. You and your friends can decide on a meal to prepare and go shopping for the ingredients together. From there, you all get into the kitchen and contribute to making the meal together. You can even pick out a movie to enjoy while you eat or talk to each other.
Other things you could do to spend quality time with each other include:
- Going on a walk
- A picnic
- Visiting a zoo
- Visiting a museum
- Attending a recreational workshop e.g. painting, writing
The emphasis should be on quality and not quantity. A few things to avoid when trying to spend quality time with people include:
- Complaining – your friends and family aren’t being too needy or clingy by asking you to spend time with them. You should never make them feel that way or give them a reason to feel that way by complaining
Not paying attention – It could be tempting to do something else when with someone during a chat, like check your phone. Don’t do that. It’s not only rude but creates an impression that you don’t enjoy their company.
Not staying in the moment – phones and cameras have made it easy for us to capture moments and relive them. Sometimes we get caught up in trying to capture a moment so much we forget to live in it. Try to drop the camera and live in the moment.
Create an effective schedule
It’s been a hectic week of class. The weekend is here and you want to hang out with your friends but guess what? Nobody is free for the weekend.
Imagine this, your parents planning a surprise visit for you on what is probably your busiest day in school. They travel down to your school with food and drinks, and they barely get to see you because they picked a bad day.
Situations like this can happen when you both have no idea what your schedule is like. When you plan hangouts spontaneously, there is a high possibility it won’t work out.
Instead, try to give your friends and family a detailed outline of what your week is like. Let them know when you have classes, an assignment to work on, a presentation to prepare for. In turn, they should also give you an idea of what their schedule looks like.
This would make it easier for both parties to pick a time convenient for everyone. Not sure how to create a schedule and stick to it? That’s okay, we dropped some hints below:
- Keep your tasks scheduled in one place – your phone, a notebook, a planner, etc.
- Schedule your most important tasks for when you’re most alert
- Include details in your schedule, so you remember exactly what it is you have to do
- Space out each task so you have time to rest and avoid burning out
- Reward yourself for accomplishing tasks
Manage your time
One of the most valuable skills a student can have is time management. You have many responsibilities to take care of. When in school, it is your responsibility to attend classes, submit assignments on time, and participate in group projects. When you have friends and family, you have to check in on them regularly and visit when possible.
If you have excellent time management skills, this shouldn’t be difficult to pull off. Plan all your activities and allocate time to them. Ensure you stick to the time allocated to each activity and you’ll find yourself breezing through life.
If you don’t have great time management skills you shouldn’t think that you can’t find a way to balance your life as people do. Any skill can be learned. Below we listed a few tips to help you develop your time management skills.
- Prioritize tasks
This is one of the most important steps in mastering proper time management. Prioritizing tasks means assigning importance to activity and ensuring that the most important ones are completed before the ones with lower importance.
- Focus one task at a time
Multitasking can be tempting. It often looks like a more effective way to get things done. However, it makes more sense to dedicate your focus to one task at a time. Not only will you finish faster, but you’ll also accomplish each task with better quality.
- Start early
If you have the opportunity to start a task before the scheduled start time it would help you get a headstart on your work. This in turns helps you overcome procrastination.
- Take breaks
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. It is important to have a dedicated time of the day when you unwind and rest. This will not only help you come back to your tasks with renewed energy but it also helps manage stress effectively. This is crucial for people with hectic schedules.
Managing your studies and social life can be difficult, but it isn’t impossible. For it to work out, your communication and time management skills have to be at their best. Not just that, a lot of self-discipline will come into play.
Create a schedule that is easy to adhere to and boosts your efficiency. Communicate as much as you can with everyone involved and the rest should be easy.
We hope you found this post helpful. These tips aren’t just meant for the four walls of a university. They can be applied to your workplace as well.