Let me tell you, this thing called college isn’t easy. From managing your school work, social life, extracurriculars, and job it seems like you always have a million and one things to do. With everything that is thrown your way, it’s like there aren’t enough days in the weeks or hours in the day to get everything done, right? Listen girl, I know the feeling.
Last semester, I took 18 credit hours, worked 4 days a week, and was involved in 3 on-campus organizations. To say I pushed it to the limit is definitely an understatement. It took for me to miss a few classes and pull a bunch of all-nighters to realize I needed to make a change. That change didn’t happen overnight, it took lots of patience and reevaluation. So here I am now—a semester later—a master at this thing called balance. Now, I am here to help you. There are 3 things that helped me find the perfect balance in my life:
1. Finding the Right Job
Your job should be a reflection of your personal and/or career interests so you won’t get bored. There is nothing worse than getting ready for a job you dread walking into. If you like fashion, consider working at a store you frequently shop at or working at a daycare if you like kids.
Once you have found a job you are interested in, ensure they offer hours that are conducive for your schedule. There are many places looking to hire part-time workers and college students (that’s because we are the best of course). Always be upfront and honest about your school schedule to find the perfect fit for you.
2. Organize Your Day
Once you have found the perfect job, sit down and create a plan. Make a schedule of your typical day. Include what time you wake up and go to sleep, what time you have classes, your breaks, the times you will study and do homework, your work shifts, your commute to and from work, and even when you plan to eat. This schedule does not have to be set in stone so you can make adjustments when necessary. Planning each day out, in detail, will allow you to know exactly what your day will entail ensuring that you will be more productive and proactive. It will also combat those feelings of anxiety and stress.
*Tip- Use Microsoft Excel to create a complete schedule. Include dates, times, locations or anything to help you remain on track and organized.
3. Remain Focused
I know the feeling you get when the money starts to roll in. Your account looks good and you don’t want to stop working. You begin to take on more shifts and work longer hours; in turn, spending less time studying and doing homework. You feel good about your bank account being full but not when you realize your grades are slipping.
It is okay to take a step back and reevaluate your priorities. Yes, having a way to sustain yourself is important but so are your grades. You are in college to get your degree. You don’t want to waste your parents’ money or those loans (because girllll they are no joke). So, if you have to cut back on hours at work, that is okay! Remember what is important. School first, work second… that is, until you graduate.
P.S.: with everything you are doing, don’t forget to make some time for yourself. Your mental health is important.