Forté Foundation
Career Lab Virtual Campus

The College Balancing Act

By Andrea M. Bossi

September 27, 2018

More and more, it’s becoming more of college culture to be very busy all the time. It can get really hard to balance your life when it’s composed of 4-5 classes, 1-10 (seriously) extra-curriculars, 1+ jobs, and a lot of friends. Even without one of these components, balancing would be hard. 

That balance matters because we are human, not machines. We need love, rest, food, and, for a lot of us college students at least, coffee. Therefore, balancing our lives is important for our health and, therefore, our futures. Here are some steps to a more balanced semester.

If it’s your first semester at college, ignore all things that require previous semesters of experience and tailor them to a new experience.

1. Get a planner – I advocate for a paper and online planner, like Google Calendar – and calculate how many hours there are in the week. I’ll cut to the chase: in 7 days, there are 168 hours. In this time, you have to fit everything, and this isn’t a high number to budget with. Use this number to check-in anytime you add things to make sure you’re not going overboard. Before the semester begins – or during it because better late than never – budget your time. And, I’ll do the first. Sleep gets a budget of 56 hours. Then, add in-class time and estimated classwork time. Keep adding relevant stuff. 

2. Write out your values and goals. This is helpful so that you’re not jumping into things during the school year that aren’t for you. This is especially helpful in avoiding that moment where you’re drowned in (maybe massive) commitments that you aren’t passionate about.

3. Plan for nothing. It’s really hard when you’re ambitious, young, and trying to catch all the opportunities thrown your way. Nonetheless, you really need to understand you’re not a machine at all. So, you need to plan for nothing; set aside time for nothing. It’s just like saving for emergency funds.

4. Take advantage of your resources. This will help you get outside insight and wisdom on how you’re doing on the path you’re following. We all know it: even when we feel most right we are not immune to helpful advice. So, seek it out. (Bonus if sought from another strong woman #womenempoweringwomen). 

5. Keep a handy list of reminders. For maximum achievement, have multiple lists that vary in time-span. Some goals are reachable over the course of a day, others a week, others a month. Make sure reminders include reaching out to people, like family and other people who you miss and have helped you along your journey! Don’t forget those who carried you now.

This list is only from my experience, and I’m not even a college graduate yet. So, there is room for improvement; this isn’t a definitive list. Add and subtract as you see fit, and when you find things that work, share them with others.

Andrea Bossi is a sophomore at Harvard College (class of 2021) currently concentrating in a track of Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience and Evolutionary Psychology, with a minor in African-American Studies. Being that she loves a plethora of untethered things and topics, she has yet to find a dream job.

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