It can definitely feel otherwise when watching the discussion posts’ due dates pile up just when your favorite artist announces a tour date that falls on a Tuesday night. Or when you’re so deep in study mode and realize you haven’t checked on your grandmother since midterm season started.
College offers little structure compared to previous education years, making it difficult to achieve a healthy balance. You don’t want to neglect school, but you also don’t want to lose yourself in the process of being a student.
“It’s hard. I have to cancel on friends a lot of the time because I have so much homework and stuff,” said sophomore Jada Martin. “I care a lot about my grades. I’m just trying to do everything I can to make sure my grades are good really.”
What defines a healthy student-life balance depends on the student. Each student does not have the same course load or personal interests. Some students are content with just being students and don’t need as much personal time and activity. While some dread academic life.
“I like school and my major and stuff, but I also really like going to the gym,” said sophomore Biology Major Tim Johnson. “I haven’t really been as much because of COVID, but honestly I’m taking 17 hours this semester and it’s hard to even find the time. But honestly, you have to make time for what you really want.”
Being a student doesn’t only consist of traditional schoolwork though. Many students are involved in campus organizations or hold internships relating to their area of study. Not to mention students who must work to support themselves. “I work a part-time job. The only thing that keeps me going is that I know I need it to stay in school. It helps to look at everything I do like I’ll be rewarded sooner or later. Which I guess I always am,” said Martin.
When it comes to achieving a healthy student-life balance, some believe all it takes is a little extra planning.
“It’s funny because I graduate in May and I feel like I just now got it together in that aspect,” said Ashley Jones. “Looking back, I realized that it’s really all about prioritizing and planning. No, you’re not going to be able to do every little thing you want, but a good balance is attainable.”
The effects of teetering too much on the “life” part of the balance beam are always obvious, but what about the school side?
“Burnout very real. I’ve experienced that and even had some health issues because of it. That’s why I think having a balance is important. Even if you’re not the go-out and party or travel type,” said Jones.
Planning aside, communicating and setting boundaries is a must in attempting to achieve a student-life balance. It’s OK to tell your friends that you’re busy. Letting your professors know that you’re having a hard time doesn’t hurt either.
“I feel like a lot of people don’t tell their professors what they have going on. Like, some professors are understanding even though some aren’t as well. The best you can do is at least let it known. People can only help you if you speak up,” said Jones.
Understanding your limits now will flow into the rest of your life. If you think about it, finding that “balance” never really stops. Even going forth in your career, it’s likely you’ll have to prioritize.
So, is the student-life balance a myth? No and yes. What works for you may not work for everyone else. Whatever makes you feel content and successful in your routine is your balance.