7 Tactics for Students to Balance College, Work and Social Life

7 Tactics for Students to Balance College, Work and Social Life

College life is a constant juggling act. You’re studying, taking part in clubs, working, and socialising. Sometimes it can feel like you don’t even have time to breathe. There is a way to do all of these things and keep going, though. Follow these seven tips to get the most out of college without heading for burnout. This should be the best time of your life, and following this advice can help you achieve academic success as well as full and active social life.

  1. Study smarter, not harder.

    A lot of students decide that effective studying equals long hours spent in the library, poring away at the books. They’ve made the mistake of thinking that the longer you study, the more you take in. In fact, the opposite can be true. Spend long enough studying without breaks, and you aren’t going to take anything in. Go for a walk and get away from the books. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to learn.

    Psychology experts also confirm that the phenomenon of studying smarter, not harder improves the amount of knowledge you retain, and your ability to apply it. They advise the following tips for really putting this concept into practice:

    •  Once you’ve studied something, give yourself a couple of hours, a few days, or even a whole week before you re-study it. This is known as ‘spacing’ and strengthens your memory.

    •  Test yourself – on all subjects, not just scientific ones where it’s easy to use flashcards.

    These two methods on how to study harder leave you with a better memory, and a way to identify and remedy gaps in your knowledge, so should be implemented during all study periods.

  2. Ask for help when you need it

    It is college, you need to learn to manage on your own, right? True, but learning that actually means knowing when to ask for help. If you’re struggling with your work, talk to a professor. If your mental or physical health is declining, go to the health centre. Those who can ask for help can get back on track, and succeed, much more quickly. Admitting that we’re struggling during college is extremely tough. It may seem like everyone else is flourishing, when the truth is that this is a difficult transition for everyone, and you are not alone in the struggle. However, if you’re still uncomfortable in coming forward and talking about problems, there are many anonymous services such as ULifeline. Anonymous services offer you the chance to be heard, and helped, but without the feeling of vulnerability that comes from opening up to someone you know or see regularly.

  1. Manage your schedule

    It’s tempting to stuff your schedule full of exciting things, and you should experience new things while you’re at college. Remember though, there’s only 24 hours in a day. If you try to cram too many things in, you’ll burn out much more quickly. Instead, take your time. You’ve got years at college, don’t worry about fitting everything in. Your main priority at college should be your studies – it is a higher education institute after all. Give classes a couple of weeks, and then realistically assess how much free time you have and decide on your priorities, whether they’re sports, socializing, music, or any other college opportunities.

  1. Slow down if you need to

    Need a break? Take it. Step off the soccer team for a while, or put a hold on tutoring. You can’t help anyone when you’re overworked. You’ll feel much better when you come back to it. You may hear the phrase ‘burnout’ being casually thrown around campus, however don’t be fooled – this is a serious issue for many young college students. It’s a state of mental and physical exhaustion, that can have a negative affect on your grades, your relationships, and your mental health. Many articles and studies are listing burnout as one of the top ten reasons students drop out of school – so when you feel overwhelmed, overworked, and overtired, give yourself a break. Take days off from any extra-curricular that you do and allow yourself time to feel stronger again. This isn’t a weakness – recognizing that you need to help yourself is a strength.

  1. Use online tools

    There are lots of online tools that make essay writing and general college life much easier on you. Try these tools the next time you’re struggling to get writing:

    •  Australian Help: This website has a whole host of guides that make writing any essay a walk in the park. Try their grammar guides, assignment help page, or their citation guides

    •  Writemonkey: Struggle to write without getting distracted? This writing tool is a stripped down, simple tool, that lets you get on with the job at hand.

    •  Easy Word Count: You’re given word counts in your assignments for a reason, to keep you on track. This tool will give you an accurate word count when you need it.

    •  Wunderlist: This app is the best to do list app out there. You can make personal lists, or create shared ones. They’re great when planning group projects.

    •  Boomessays: Sometimes, you need someone to give your essay that final once over. This writing service can look at it with an experienced eye before you hand it in.

    •  iStudiez Pro: This organisation app will help you get yourself organised. Create schedules for work and school, and keep track of your accomplishments.

    •  RefME: This tool is a lifesaver for citing your sources. Scan the book’s barcode into your phone, and it will create an instant citation for you.

  2. Be able to say no

    There are lots of opportunities at college, and you want to say yes and please everyone. However, it’s just not possible to fit it all in. Say no once in a while, and your tired brain will thank you. Everyone needs a day curled up in front of Netflix every once in a while. While it’s easy to become giddy with excitement at the societies fair, and suddenly realize you have a dozen passions, when you really think about it, you know who you are, what you like, and what societies and activities are for you. Stay true to who you are, and remember that it’s OK to say no.

  3. Eat well

    It sounds obvious, but many students don’t eat well when they come to college. Eating junk all day every day means you’ll feel ill, and won’t be up to all the cool stuff that’s out there. Make sure to keep fruit and vegetables in your diet, and slow down on the fast food. Make sure you drink enough water during the day, too. While ramen may be the cheapest thing in the store, and not grow mould even after a couple of weeks, your brain works better with a good diet. Scientists have confirmed time and again that fish, fruits, vegetables, and even coconut oil can boost your brain. So give yourself the best odds at succeeding in college by eating as well as you can.

These tips and tools should help you get the right balance while you’re at college. Of course you want to do everything, but you need to listen to your body first. Taking it slow from time to time will help you get the most out of the college experience.


About the Author: Gloria Kopp

Gloria Kopp is a web content writer and an elearning consultant from Manville city. She graduated from University of Wyoming and started a career of a creative writer, now she works as a blog editor at Essayroo. She is also is a regular contributor to such websites as StudydemicBigassignments, HuffingtonPost, Engadget, etc.

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Big feelings, and the big behaviour that comes from big feelings, are a sign of a distressed nervous system. Think of this like a burning building. The behaviour is the smoke. The fire is a distressed nervous system. It’s so tempting to respond directly to the behaviour (the smoke), but by doing this, we ignore the fire. Their behaviour and feelings in that moment are a call for support - for us to help that distressed brain and body find the way home. 

The most powerful language for any nervous system is another nervous system. They will catch our distress (as we will catch theirs) but they will also catch our calm. It can be tempting to move them to independence on this too quickly, but it just doesn’t work this way. Children can only learn to self-regulate with lots (and lots and lots) of experience co-regulating. 

This isn’t something that can be taught. It’s something that has to be experienced over and over. It’s like so many things - driving a car, playing the piano - we can talk all we want about ‘how’ but it’s not until we ‘do’ over and over that we get better at it. 

Self-regulation works the same way. It’s not until children have repeated experiences with an adult bringing them back to calm, that they develop the neural pathways to come back to calm on their own. 

An important part of this is making sure we are guiding that nervous system with tender, gentle hands and a steady heart. This is where our own self-regulation becomes important. Our nervous systems speak to each other every moment of every day. When our children or teens are distressed, we will start to feel that distress. It becomes a loop. We feel what they feel, they feel what we feel. Our own capacity to self-regulate is the circuit breaker. 

This can be so tough, but it can happen in microbreaks. A few strong steady breaths can calm our own nervous system, which we can then use to calm theirs. Breathe, and be with. It’s that simple, but so tough to do some days. When they come back to calm, then have those transformational chats - What happened? What can make it easier next time?

Who you are in the moment will always be more important than what you do.
How we are with them, when they are their everyday selves and when they aren’t so adorable, will build their view of three things: the world, its people, and themselves. This will then inform how they respond to the world and how they build their very important space in it. 

Will it be a loving, warm, open-hearted space with lots of doors for them to throw open to the people and experiences that are right for them? Or will it be a space with solid, too high walls that close out too many of the people and experiences that would nourish them.

They will learn from what we do with them and to them, for better or worse. We don’t teach them that the world is safe for them to reach into - we show them. We don’t teach them to be kind, respectful, and compassionate. We show them. We don’t teach them that they matter, and that other people matter, and that their voices and their opinions matter. We show them. We don’t teach them that they are little joy mongers who light up the world. We show them. 

But we have to be radically kind with ourselves too. None of this is about perfection. Parenting is hard, and days will be hard, and on too many of those days we’ll be hard too. That’s okay. We’ll say things we shouldn’t say and do things we shouldn’t do. We’re human too. Let’s not put pressure on our kiddos to be perfect by pretending that we are. As long as we repair the ruptures as soon as we can, and bathe them in love and the warmth of us as much as we can, they will be okay.

This also isn’t about not having boundaries. We need to be the guardians of their world and show them where the edges are. But in the guarding of those boundaries we can be strong and loving, strong and gentle. We can love them, and redirect their behaviour.

It’s when we own our stuff(ups) and when we let them see us fall and rise with strength, integrity, and compassion, and when we hold them gently through the mess of it all, that they learn about humility, and vulnerability, and the importance of holding bruised hearts with tender hands. It’s not about perfection, it’s about consistency, and honesty, and the way we respond to them the most.♥️

#parenting #mindfulparenting
Anxiety and courage always exist together. It can be no other way. Anxiety is a call to courage. It means you're about to do something brave, so when there is one the other will be there too. Their courage might feel so small and be whisper quiet, but it will always be there and always ready to show up when they need it to.
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But courage doesn’t always feel like courage, and it won't always show itself as a readiness. Instead, it might show as a rising - from fear, from uncertainty, from anger. None of these mean an absence of courage. They are the making of space, and the opportunity for courage to rise.
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When the noise from anxiety is loud and obtuse, we’ll have to gently add our voices to usher their courage into the light. We can do this speaking of it and to it, and by shifting the focus from their anxiety to their brave. The one we focus on is ultimately what will become powerful. It will be the one we energise. Anxiety will already have their focus, so we’ll need to make sure their courage has ours.
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But we have to speak to their fear as well, in a way that makes space for it to be held and soothed, with strength. Their fear has an important job to do - to recruit the support of someone who can help them feel safe. Only when their fear has been heard will it rest and make way for their brave.
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What does this look like? Tell them their stories of brave, but acknowledge the fear that made it tough. Stories help them process their emotional experiences in a safe way. It brings word to the feelings and helps those big feelings make sense and find containment. ‘You were really worried about that exam weren’t you. You couldn’t get to sleep the night before. It was tough going to school but you got up, you got dressed, you ... and you did it. Then you ...’
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In the moment, speak to their brave by first acknowledging their need to flee (or fight), then tell them what you know to be true - ‘This feels scary for you doesn’t it. I know you want to run. It makes so much sense that you would want to do that. I also know you can do hard things. My darling, I know it with everything in me.’
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#positiveparenting #parenting #childanxiety #anxietyinchildren #mindfulpare
Separation anxiety has an important job to do - it’s designed to keep children safe by driving them to stay close to their important adults. Gosh it can feel brutal sometimes though.

Whenever there is separation from an attachment person there will be anxiety unless there are two things: attachment with another trusted, loving adult; and a felt sense of you holding on, even when you aren't beside them. Putting these in place will help soften anxiety.

As long as children are are in the loving care of a trusted adult, there's no need to avoid separation. We'll need to remind ourselves of this so we can hold on to ourselves when our own anxiety is rising in response to theirs. 

If separation is the problem, connection has to be the solution. The connection can be with any loving adult, but it's more than an adult being present. It needs an adult who, through their strong, warm, loving presence, shows the child their abundant intention to care for that child, and their joy in doing so. This can be helped along by showing that you trust the adult to love that child big in our absence. 'I know [important adult] loves you and is going to take such good care of you.'

To help your young one feel held on to by you, even in absence, let them know you'll be thinking of them and can't wait to see them. Bolster this by giving them something of yours to hold while you're gone - a scarf, a note - anything that will be felt as 'you'.

They know you are the one who makes sure their world is safe, so they’ll be looking to you for signs of safety: 'Do you think we'll be okay if we aren't together?' First, validate: 'You really want to stay with me, don't you. I wish I could stay with you too! It's hard being away from your special people isn't it.' Then, be their brave. Let it be big enough to wrap around them so they can rest in the safety and strength of it: 'I know you can do this, love. We can do hard things can't we.'

Part of growing up brave is learning that the presence of anxiety doesn't always mean something is wrong. Sometimes it means they are on the edge of brave - and being away from you for a while counts as brave.
Even the most loving, emotionally available adult might feel frustration, anger, helplessness or distress in response to a child’s big feelings. This is how it’s meant to work. 

Their distress (fight/flight) will raise distress in us. The purpose is to move us to protect or support or them, but of course it doesn’t always work this way. When their big feelings recruit ours it can drive us more to fight (anger, blame), or to flee (avoid, ignore, separate them from us) which can steal our capacity to support them. It will happen to all of us from time to time. 

Kids and teens can’t learn to manage big feelings on their own until they’ve done it plenty of times with a calm, loving adult. This is where co-regulation comes in. It helps build the vital neural pathways between big feelings and calm. They can’t build those pathways on their own. 

It’s like driving a car. We can tell them how to drive as much as we like, but ‘talking about’ won’t mean they’re ready to hit the road by themselves. Instead we sit with them in the front seat for hours, driving ‘with’ until they can do it on their own. Feelings are the same. We feel ‘with’, over and over, until they can do it on their own. 

What can help is pausing for a moment to see the behaviour for what it is - a call for support. It’s NOT bad behaviour or bad parenting. It’s not that.

Our own feelings can give us a clue to what our children are feeling. It’s a normal, healthy, adaptive way for them to share an emotional load they weren’t meant to carry on their own. Self-regulation makes space for us to hold those feelings with them until those big feelings ease. 

Self-regulation can happen in micro moments. First, see the feelings or behaviour for what it is - a call for support. Then breathe. This will calm your nervous system, so you can calm theirs. In the same way we will catch their distress, they will also catch ours - but they can also catch our calm. Breathe, validate, and be ‘with’. And you don’t need to do more than that.

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