How to Balance It All: Work, School, and Extras

Life is one giant balancing act- between work, classes, and being involved in campus, there isn’t a lot of spare time for us to relax and be social! So how do we find that happy medium that works everything in? I went around to all of the Honors staff and asked for advice on how to try to stay balanced. Here were their responses:

1. Understand that there truly is no such thing as balance.

While adults may preach ‘it’s all about balance’, when it comes to this aspect of our lives there is no such thing. Everyday is going to be different: some days you will spend 12 hours in the library and others you won’t even look at your backpack. When you have too many of one type of day, that is when you begin to run into problems. Once you accept that there is no perfect equation, you will be that much more efficient. Just know that you can have a little bit of everything.

2. You have to continuously fill your own cup.

Find what truly makes you happy, and then don’t give it up. For some people, that means going to the gym everyday for an hour. Others enjoy reading for 20 minutes before going to bed. Whatever it is that keeps you grounded and content is something that you keep in your schedule no matter what.

3. Manage the time in your day.

When someone says ‘balance’, what they really mean is ‘manage’. Time management is such an important tool for busy students! If you are booked everyday between 8am-4pm, then you should utilize the time you do have at night. For some people, time management means making a list of the things you absolutely need to get done that day and adding in more as you complete your list. For others, this means allocating a certain amount of time a day to different things. Again, every day is going to be different but that isn’t a bad thing.

4. You cannot be the best at every single thing you do- focus on one at a time.

When it comes to classes, work, being involved on campus, and having a social life, there are a lot of different areas for us to stand out and excel. But we can’t excel in all of them. Each semester or time of year, pick one area of your life that you want to be the  very best in. You want to put in more time at work and be a great employee? Take less credits that semester or cut down on what clubs you are active in. Want to get all A’s in your classes? Cut your volunteer hours in half that semester. Have a fabulous research project idea but nervous it may take up all your time? If it is something you want to do, make time for it. Look back at number 2 to remind you how to pick your priorities. 

5. Learn how to say no.

There is no easy way to say this but… no. Learn how to say that one word and you will find that your schedule becomes more manageable and enjoyable. If someone asks you if you would be willing to do something for one of your clubs but it doesn’t sound like fun to you, then say no! Adding things into your schedule because they’ll look good on a resume isn’t a good plan. You only get four years to experiment and find your passions, so why spend it on things you don’t like? Get involved and volunteer for things you do enjoy or want to pursue. It may take some time and you’ll be constantly changing your schedule around, but it is totally worth it in the end.

6. Do what makes you happy.

This is a cliche, I know, but it really is applicable to everything! There are so many things that you can choose to do with your time- watching movies, volunteering, research. But with all of these opportunities, it can become difficult to make our final decisions. Don’t do a resume-building activity instead of something that sounds really interesting to you just because you think it will look better in the long run. Do what sounds interesting or makes you happy. Do what you’re passionate about and the experiences you have will beat everything else. Everyone enjoys passionate people way more than they enjoy good-on-paper people.


Written by Emily Schiltz

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