Are you a new college student wondering how you will be able to manage work, school, family and friends? Or have you been in the college game for a while and you are adding more onto your plate?
You’re not alone.
As college students, we are pressured into 18+ hour days and still expected to get the right amount of nutrition, exercise, social interactions, study time, homework time and work.
Some of us have more than one job. Some of us are taking a full load of classes, and some of us have extracurricular activities on the side. “As a college student, the way I manage life is I don’t,” said Andrea Sanchez. “I work, work and push myself until I break down.” Sanchez is a second year student at VVC with two jobs and a full course load.
Valeria Hernandez, another second year student, said “I either have a work/school life or a social life. There is no in between.” Many students, including myself, find ourselves in this situation? But how do we manage and get it all done?
Here are some tips and tricks from some second year students on how to manage it all.
First you have to make sure you know what your priorities are. Since our days are so full, we have to break down each task in order to know how much time to spend on them.
“I try to write out my schedule for the week that includes my job, school, and events” said Monique Torres, another full-time student with two jobs. “Having a consistent routine really helped me balance my life.”
So what is needed? A planner! “Any planner will do, but I love passion planner[s],” said Emily Vega, a full-time VVC student with a full-time job. “It’s a game changer. Get the larger sized one.” According to Vega, checking the planner frequently is not needed because it will be easier to remember once you write things down.
But what do we need to plan out? The answer is everything. Once you find out what is most important, you plan your days around it. Some people may prioritize school, work, family or a social life.
You record and follow anything from school work, studying, work, important events/dates, and you can customize it anyway that makes sense to you.
You also have to make sure you keep yourself healthy, physically and mentally. As college students, we have a tendency of stress eating, eating out because we don’t have time to make anything, and not exercising for the same reason. What is the point of trying to do things right and not looking out for your health?
Plan out your meals for the day – at least breakfast, lunch and dinner. Then set aside time for at least 15 minutes to get your body moving.
When planning out your days, it will help you realize how much is too much for your lifestyle. If work is too much, take less hours. If school is too much, take less units. This will help more with staying healthy. “I prioritize my well-being over school and realized it when I started college and was in school by choice and could choose what is better for me, sleep or this assignment,” said Vega.
With so much going on, we all need a day of rest, at least one day out of the week. Take a break from school, work and anything that brings you stress. It causes a healthier lifestyle and alleviates the built up stresses of the week.
This leads us to actually finding something that relieves your stress. For me, it is running or painting. This is something that can be done on a rest day or when we feel overwhelmed.
Since we are on the topic of health, sometimes the people we have in our life can make our health worse and our lives harder. We go to college because we are building our future, and sometimes people can hold us back from that. And sometimes, we have to get rid of those people to succeed.
Hernandez said “I practically have no friends now and because none of them understood that I didn’t have much time to hang out because of how much time I take to study. Many people stopped talking to me because, for them, me not being able to hang out or talk/text them all the time meant that I no longer wanted to be their friend. Yet they knew how busy my schedule was.”
Although we do need to choose what type of people we want to get out of our lives, we still need some friends to help us through life. A majority of the time, this is family or people that are considered to be like family.
With the busyness of your life, you will need to make an effort to keep these relationships healthy because you cannot do this alone. Yes, you are building your own life, but no one wants to be alone in this life.
“My parents have helped balance my life,” said Sanchez. “They are there to constantly remind me that no matter what I choose or what decision I make they will always support me.”
A good tip is to plan a meal to eat every day if you live together, or plan a day out of the week to catch up with one another if you do not live together. Keep those you love and support you close to you.
When you get right to it, college is hard, and it will continue to get harder. But we have to remember we are doing this to have a better future. But we need to balance our college life to be able to survive and live our future.