When I first started college, I found myself overwhelmed with how to use my time. I knew I should be doing more homework and studying, but there were always interesting events and club meetings I wanted to attend. I found myself struggling to find time for school, sleep, and a social life. I searched for and implemented several techniques that helped me juggle the busy world of college.
Find out how to get involved in university clubs and organizations that pique your interest. There’s a range of activities you can participate in from working on digital teams and publications, playing sports, or getting involved with activism. Participating in the things I felt passionate about helped me find friends with similar interests, which provided the perfect combination of school spirit and socializing.
Take a break.
It’s important to find friends who have similar interests and who can help you express those interests. However, it’s also important to take a break from your work and your friends. Relaxing is a key ingredient in the recipe for a busy schedule. I found that it helped to turn my mind off sometimes and focus on something simpler, something that didn’t demand a constant flow of energy. I found a quiet space out by a creek and I went there to doodle or write in my journal because that internal peace was necessary to keep up with a college schedule.
Plan, plan, plan.
Whether you prefer Google calendar, a leather planner, or a book of to-do lists, it’s vital to plan ahead. To successfully juggle school and social life, you have to really know your schedule. During my busiest semester, there was a time where I was penciling friends into my calendar because Thursday from 7 PM to 8:30 PM was truly the only time I had to chat. Keeping a calendar can prevent sticky situations. If someone wants to plan something, you’re already prepared and won’t end up scheduling a coffee catch-up during your chemistry midterm.
Learn to multitask.
Multitasking was one of the most helpful techniques for juggling schoolwork and a social life. Simple things like mailing a letter on my way to class or applying for a job in the doctor’s waiting room saved me little bits of time that I could use to catch up with my friends, the news, or club events. If my friends were busy, I read while eating dinner. If I wasn’t taking a break, and my hands could be doing more than one thing, they always were.
Juggling between coursework and friends can be a tricky endeavor filled with decision-making. Juggling your responsibilities is all about prioritizing what needs to get done first and then completing it. It’s important to remember, however, that no time is wasted time and it’s necessary to catch up with friends the same way it’s necessary to study. Social knowledge carries as much value as school knowledge. So, while it may be difficult, finding that balance is integral to your mental well-being and all-around college experience.
WRITTEN BY Sydney Bagnall University of Michigan
Sydney graduated in May 2019 with a major in English Literature and a minor in Graphic design. She has a knack for all things creative. Originally from Pennsylvania, she enjoys biking on rolling hills and never misses an opportunity to stop and observe the sky. If you don’t find her vigorously typing, you can find her outside.