Going to university and dedicating yourself to studies is tough for everyone. It’s a balancing act. You’ve got to keep up with all of life’s other commitments as well: work, social, and anything else that you have going. Yet, your education is so important, and so you’ve got to make sure that you give it as much attention as possible.
Here are several ideas that can help you succeed in this balancing act.
Rise early and keep to a sleeping routine
In order to achieve success, maximise your time. In order to take full advantage of your time, you need to wake up early. Avoid sleeping in every day and try to wake up by 7am or earlier. The early hours of the morning are the best times to gain clarity and focus.
Most of your peers are probably not awake during those hours, which means that you’ll be able to take advantage of the quiet hours for distraction-free studying and getting ready without having to waste time bumping into your roommates and conflicting with their schedules (supposing that you live in a dorm or are in an off-campus housing situation).
As part of waking up early, you might need to plan ahead for that. In college, there are tons of parties, sporting events, and other social things that you might like to be involved in. If you decide to make waking up early a priority, though, you may have to set a curfew for yourself as well. As you do so, take note that it’s best to get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
If you plan on waking up by 7am, then you should plan on going to bed by 11pm. Try to get home an hour before you go to bed so that you can eat, get ready for bed, and do anything else that is part of your nightly routine.
As you make sleep and waking up early a priority, you’ll be able to ensure that you’ll have the energy that you need to get through classes and studies. If you’re not fully alert or have low energy, you won’t be able to take in information to the best of your ability, and not being able to do so could lead to academic failure.
Use a planner and keep to a schedule
You probably see using a planner as something that your parents do, but they can be super useful. You can write down your class schedule, homework assignments and social commitments. They can help to make sure that you don’t overbook yourself and to stay organised so that you don’t end up always having to do your homework last-minute or, worse, forget about it and take a failing grade.
If using a physical planner isn’t for you, there are tons of apps available for you to download. They can even send alerts to your phone so that you don’t always have to consciously remember everything that you got going on. Such alerts can be very useful if you have them set to remind you to study for certain tests or to get a certain paper written.
Whether you choose to use a physical planner or app, it’s important to check and update your schedule on a daily basis and to stick to the routine of doing that. Check your planner every morning so that you can see what you have to do for that day. Likewise, check your planner every night so that you can see if you did everything that you were supposed to do and to plan for the next day. By staying organised in this way, you’ll be able to stay on top of your classes and increase your chances of getting better grades.
Health: top priority
Whether your major is music, engineering or business administration, it’s best to prioritise your own health to be able to balance life. Take care of your personal health by developing specific practices. Do your best to eat well. You can do this by making sure to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every single meal.
You should also make an effort to drink enough water every day. You should be drinking nearly 2l of water. That might sound a lot and you might have to work up to the point where you can take in that much water if you’re not used to doing so. You’ll be able to do so, however, as you track your water intake (this can be done via an app).
Exercise is also an extremely important part of your health. It may sound hard to fit in the time to do that, but it’s possible. Most university campuses have gyms where students can work out. Check to see if your university has any type of athletics facility available for you to use. If so, take advantage of it! Schedule in some time to go work out at least three times a week.
Stay in communication with others
It can be really easy to get bogged down by all of your studies that you start stepping away from your relationships. Perhaps you haven’t called home or gone and seen your family in a while. Maybe you haven’t been hanging out with friends either. However, these are the people who support and love you. By interacting with them, you’ll be able to feel that and that can have a positive impact on your mental health. Because of this, communication is very important.
Don’t allow your studies to isolate you. They’re important, yes, but maintaining your relationships is too. Just make sure to not schedule get-togethers around high-stress academic commitments like midterms or finals. Yet, let yourself know that it’s okay to give yourself a break to talk to and laugh with your family and friends every now and then.
Maintaining balance is so important during your college years. If you can’t take control and manage all of your life commitments alongside your studies, you might not do too well in school and that can actually affect your future career. Taking the step to discipline yourself now will pay off in the long run.
Special thanks to Hannah Whittenly for providing us with this article. Hannah is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake. You can follow Hannah on Twitter.