How do you balance having an internship, staying active and healthy, and taking time for yourself while still doing well in your classes? Here are some tips for enhancing your work-college balance and having the best experience possible in college.
To be honest, I'm the type of person that likes to give their all in a project, assignment, relationship, or organization. But this semester I have found it hard to do this — to plan hangouts with my friends, to have a steady workout schedule, and to continue giving my best effort in my internship every other day.
In reality, it's almost impossible to give your everything in every aspect of your life without stretching yourself too thin — if you can without feeling stressed, I'm convinced you are a superhero or something of the sort. It took weeks of experimenting with different schedules to find the best one that works for me, and I found that setting aside time to work on these different components of your life will enhance the time you spend with them.
Making sure I was focused on the thing happening right at the moment, whether I was in class, working out, or preparing something for my internship was essential in balancing my time and energy across my college life. Here is how I did that.
1. Scheduling time to work out
This was an absolute game-changer for me. One of my goals at the beginning of this semester was to become more active and healthy compared to previous semesters where I didn't prioritize working out as much as I wanted to. At the beginning of this semester, I had a few sessions with a personal trainer at my campus' recreation center and I set a goal to work out three times a week. I've met that goal every week since, and it feels great to achieve something I've wanted to do for so long.
To do this, I found days in my week that I could schedule a time to work out, days that I didn't have much going on in the afternoons since I'm really not the type to wake up at 5 a.m. every day to work out. Then, I set out about an hour and a half during these afternoons to work out and shower afterward. Scheduling this time in advance encouraged me to work out more because I could actually visualize the time I made to work out instead of trying to find time to work out.
This semester, I wanted to prioritize and focus on working out and staying active because working out really gives my life balance when my classes and schedule don't. I feel like my mind and body get balanced when I'm active as I feel more empowered, focused, and strong than when I don't.
Everyone is different, though; perhaps something you enjoy gives you more balance than going to the gym does, like meditating, doing yoga, or going on a jog. You can start off with working out a few days a week, then slowly building up to a regular schedule that works best for you. You don't have to go to the gym to work out or stay active, you could go for a short jog around campus, hike in a wooded area close to your campus, or play a pickup game with your friends!
All in all, spending time being active can make you more productive and energized, which can make you feel more balanced. Making time to work out rather than trying to find time can make you feel more organized and therefore balanced!
2. Setting aside time for your loved ones and new friendships
Setting aside time to talk and spend time with my friends and family was especially beneficial in fostering my relationships with them and creating balance in my social life. This doesn't have to be setting aside hours at a time to talk to your family; it can be as simple and easy as setting aside five minutes to shoot off a few texts to your loved ones to check in.
One of my favorite things this semester is sending my friend from high school a "post-workout" video where I tell her about my workout and catch her up on everything that is going on in my life. Then she sends me a video with her life updates. Taking just a few minutes in your day to talk with your friends, family, roommates, or new acquaintances is a great way to balance your time in talking to your friends and staying connected with them in your busy schedule.
3. Learning to prioritize your different organizations and commitments
This is a big one — prioritizing the different organizations you are in and the commitments you have in those organizations is sometimes hard to balance with your everyday college life. For me, I'm active in about seven different organizations which I know is a lot.
It's hard to keep these different organizations in order, but being active in them can be very rewarding. Google Calendar has been my savior when it comes to keeping track of my different meetings, activities, and outings of my different organizations. You could make each organization a different color to keep track of which event is for which organization.
When it comes to prioritizing your different organizations and finding which ones you should focus on balancing, think of the benefits that come with being a member of each club. Perhaps one club is more focused on a certain career you're interested in while the other is more focused on one of your hobbies.
Depending on your priorities and preferences, you should make sure that you are more balanced in the one you are more passionate about than the other to ensure this balance.
4. Setting boundaries for your internship or job
Whether you have an in-person or virtual internship or job, it's crucial that you set boundaries with your supervisor and the company that you work for to find a work-college life balance. Before the semester begins, you should think about how much time you would like to commit to your internship and discuss this with your employer. Oftentimes they will understand that you have other commitments including extracurricular activities, classes, and just college life in general, so they will be more understanding and accepting of a flexible schedule.
As someone with a virtual internship, I often feel tempted to check my email or work on my internship tasks outside of my scheduled hours. This can throw off my college life balance because I can spend time that I should be paying attention in class or working on assignments on making sure I'm not missing anything on my days off.
Regardless, it's important that you not only set boundaries with your employer but with yourself, especially when it comes to your job. You don't want to exhaust yourself with just your internship, but instead, balance your energy with all of your different responsibilities as a college student.
5. Taking time for yourself
Finally, to achieve balance in your college life, taking time for yourself is incredibly important. Taking time to be by yourself and to think about everything happening in your life is crucial when it comes to balancing and focusing on your college experience.
You can do this in any way that you find enjoyment and relaxation, whether that's doing a light study session, working out, going on a hike, watching one of your favorite movies, spending time in a coffee shop, taking a nap, eating your favorite meal, going on a walk around campus, and more! Wherever you're able to reflect on your college and life experiences will be best for taking time for yourself and enhancing your balance as a college student.
Overall, scheduling time for your different commitments, setting boundaries, and taking time to make sure that these priorities are what makes you happy is the key to finding this work-college balance as a college student.