Coming in to college freshman year, I was an innocent little kid not knowing what college was going to be like. I always heard the cliche that “College is the best four years of your life”. My outlook on college beforehand was crafted by movies like Animal House, Road Trip, and Van Wilder. It was a shock to my system when I was had to complete my first class assignment.
But wait, I thought college was about having the time of your life and meeting new people? Four years later I come to learn what I know now. Coming from a college student like myself, I can assure you that this lifestyle isn’t a walk in the park. Yes, there are times in college where you get to party and let loose, but don’t forget your there to get a quality education.
Throughout my college career I was frequently challenged to balance out my schoolwork and my social life. We as college students are always busy with schoolwork, part time jobs, working out, and trying to make time to hang out with friends. It was overwhelming and stressful to think about how I was going to manage my studies and have an enjoyable social life as well.
It’s definitely possible to equally balance out your academics with your social life, although it may take some time to get used to. In order to do so, I recommend following a few key tips I developed throughout my college career.
Tip #1: Academics is Your #1 Priority
Many freshman including myself head into college not know the requirements and grueling hours of hard work that college demands of you. Those days of thinking that college is one big party are over. The sooner you come to this realization, the better off you will be. You chose to enroll at West Chester University because of one reason and one reason only, to get an education.
Tip #2: Get Ahead of the Game When it Comes to Your School Work
Sadly, I’ve made the mistake of putting off assignments and waiting to study last minute. Could I have prevented this? Yes. From experience, waiting till the last minute to complete your schoolwork not only causes great stress and anxiety, but it also takes a toll on your social life. By completing or at least starting your assignments ahead of time will not only relive stress but also open up more free time to hang out with friends, go out to dinner, go see a movie, etc. Trust me, getting a head start with your work will only benefit you.
Tip #3: Utilize a Calendar or Date Book
“Wait that was due today!?”. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked myself that question throughout my college career. It’s hard to keep track when a big assignment is due or when your next test is. Keep track of all your schoolwork by writing it down on a calendar or date book.
Organizing your schoolwork lets you know when you have free time to do whatever you want as well. Keeping a clear written agenda can really help you organize your academics and social life. Staying organized has helped me throughout college career, so if you really want to balance out your academics and social life effectively I recommend you do the same.
Tip #4: Take Care of Yourself
Has one of your friends ever told you they’re too tired to hang out because they were doing schoolwork all night or playing video games until 4am? I cannot stress how important it is for college students to get good nights sleep. Making sure your well rested allows you to conquer any task you may on any given day.
Furthermore if your well rested you will have the energy to indulge in your social life. Every time I pull an all nighter I completely regretted it. Not only did I feel like my brain is going to explode, I also felt physically drained the next day. Eventually I got sick of staying up way too late because of the after effects it had on my body. When well rested, I was able to finish all my schoolwork in addition to do other things like go out for pizza with my roommates.
Yes schoolwork is important, but so is maintaining your health. Ensuring a quality sleep pattern will give you the tools you need to properly balance out schoolwork and your social life. So put your phone down, turn off the television, and complete your schoolwork during the day so you can get to bed at a decent hour.
Tip #5: Reward Yourself For All Your Hard Work
Although I stated previously that your academics should be your #1 priority, your social life is very important as well. It seemed that schoolwork had taken over my life during my college years. I never really gave myself a chance to relax and have fun even though my grades were top notch. Rewarding yourself for your hard work is very important to your social life. Of course these rewards should occur in moderation.
During my sophomore year I was prepping for a major midterm that covered a lot of difficult material in my Communication Theory class. I studied everyday for a week straight. On judgment day I took the exam and was thrilled to finally have it over with. Although, afterwards I didn’t know what to do with myself.
It felt like my life revolved around schoolwork and studying like a hermit in my room by myself. I had to take a step back and realize that this grueling process was over for the time being. To reward myself for all my hard work I decided to go to the movies with my friends. Rewarding myself made all the hard work and studying totally worth it. Not only is it easy for you to lose sight of your academics, its also easy to forget that you have a social life as well. Long story short, reward yourself!
With these tips not only are you on a clear path to academic honors; you are on track to have an enjoyable social life during your college career. In hindsight I wish I had access to this information earlier, but I had to learn the hard way. Coming from a soon to be graduate who’s been through the system, I can assure that you will benefit from them. Now a seasoned veteran of College, I’ve earned deans list the past three semesters and still manage to go out to Barnaby’s every Wednesday for wing night with my buddies.
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