How Students Can Balance School and Life

Dr. Purushothaman
January 14, 2014


As a student you know that class work is going to require a lot of your time and you have to create an effective plan to make certain everything is completed when it needs to be done. During the start of class you likely feel excited and proud of the step you have taken, and perhaps uncertain at the same time as to how you will make adjustments in your life to accommodate classes. You quickly discover that your school schedule can become quite demanding, especially when you already have many responsibilities to meet each week, and as the number of assignments increase so does the pressure. You have to find a work-life balance so that you don't become overwhelmed or burned out. Creating a balance between school work and your existing life requires maintaining a harmonious balance between them.
The most effective starting point for the development of a work-life plan is to decide what your priorities are each week. Take into consideration all of your responsibilities and goals but don't stop there. You may find it necessary to also schedule a break for yourself during the week as a means of dealing with the pressure, especially if you have a tendency to put work first. While the tasks you have to complete each week may vary, your general well-being will determine your ability to deal with challenges and changes that occur. It is possible to have an effective time management plan and still perform poorly simply because you forgot to take care of yourself.
Many students stay focused on their courses, their job, and future career plans, which provides a sense of drive and source of self-motivation, but often leaves little time for relationships or their own self-development. When your well-being is left last on the list of priorities you may experience health-related issues such as stress and anxiety. No matter what you value the most or have established as your most important priorities, your well-being (physical, mental, emotional) also needs attention. It is not possible to perform your best if you are always on the go and never take a break. This can be a matter of taking a few minutes each day or a couple of hours each week to stop and feel recharged. You will likely discover a renewed sense of purpose, clarity, and determination when you return to your tasks.
Taking a mental break is especially helpful when you are struggling to come up with new ideas or you are in the initial development stage of a paper. Your work as a student often involves developing new ideas and moments that allow you to think clearly may provide the insight you need simply because you changed your focus. Of course students may not feel that a break is justified or warranted, especially with deadlines looming, but the plan for allocating your time does not have to be equally balanced. It may be as simple as scheduling a 30 minute break per day. Work-life balance means that you work towards addressing all of your priorities, which includes your own well-being.

Students find that this mindset or approach to keeping balance in their lives is an important aspect of maintaining momentum in their degree program, especially if they have jobs, families, and other responsibilities. When you make a commitment to your school work you have to consider how you will maintain your well-being. It’s a coping strategy that does take time out of your schedule but the return on your investment will usually mean that you are better equipped and are better prepared to meet the demands you face, while feeling a sense of control and focus.

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