10 Tips For Balancing School And A Social Life In College

10 Tips For Balancing School And A Social Life In College

This one's for the overachievers with serious FOMO.


Of course, college is primarily about getting an education, but these are also supposed to be the so-called "best years of our lives," and if you are anything like me, it takes very subtle convincing to put our responsibilities on hold to go out and have a good time with friends. After a semester in college, I think I've been able to identify a few things that help me to avoid my fear of missing out and still meet the high expectations that I set for myself academically.

1. Invest in a planner

Honestly, I don't know how I would survive without writing my every responsibility in my planner. At the beginning of every semester, I block off an hour or so to write down every single due date for all of my classes. Doing this prevents random assignments from popping up out of nowhere and allows me to map out my week and look ahead to see what to expect for the coming weeks.

2. Utilize the weekdays and time in between classes

If you want to spend most of your weekends having fun, it is absolutely vital to use every minute of your free time during the week to knock out all of your upcoming assignments. No matter how loudly your bed is calling your name during that awkward 2-hour break between classes, resist the temptation and spend it being productive and getting ahead of your workload.

3. Don't procrastinate!

While it can be difficult to convince yourself to do an assignment a week in advance, you'll thank yourself later when you aren't scrambling to finish your Chemistry homework on Friday night 30 minutes before the 11:59 due date when you'd rather be doing just about anything else.

4. Identify the best study setting for you

Whether it be a silent study room or the middle of Starbucks, identify what setting allows you to be the most productive. Staying focused allows you to get more done in a shorter period of time, giving you more free time in the long run.

5. Limit your distractions

If you want to spend a decent amount of time away from school, efficiency is key. Putting your phone away and closing your online shopping tabs for an hour while doing your homework or studying is much better than half-focusing for double the time and not getting as much accomplished.

6. Set realistic goals for yourself and reward yourself for accomplishing them

Having a to-do list for the day can help you stay on track with your assignments and crossing things off can give you a sense of accomplishment. I also like to give myself some motivation to get everything I have planned done, such as telling myself if I finish writing an essay tonight, I will have time to go to the basketball game tomorrow.

7. Keep up with your course work

Most college exams cover a decently broad time span, so staying on top of your studying as you learn new information can be beneficial for retention and save you time. For example, soon after a lecture, I like to make flashcards so I don't have to pull an all-nighter in the library the day before an exam making my study materials.

8. Make friends that you can study with

Even if you are a professional at time management, there will still probably be some nights that you'll have to sacrifice having fun for a homework night. Making friends that you can study with can make these nights a little less painful because you can socialize and be productive simultaneously.

9. Don't forget to take care of yourself

College is always going to be extremely busy and there will always be things to get done. Although the occasional all-nighter before an exam or substitution of a meal for coffee may be necessary, don't let these things become a habit. If you don't take care of yourself you'll likely end up even more stressed out. Sometimes, you just have to chill and do a face mask.

10.  Decide what is most important to you

Missing one night out that probably won't live up to your expectations is probably worth getting an A on your exam, but missing one homework assignment to tailgate the biggest game of the year probably isn't the end of the world either. Decide what is most important to you while keeping potential consequences and your goals in mind.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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To The High School Senior Wishing She Could Fast-Forward To Graduation, Careful What You Wish For

Don't wish this time away.


As the last stretch of my freshman year of college stands before me, I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago today. I've thought about how fast the time has gone, but also how much has happened in that year.

A year ago, I decided what college I was going to and was getting ready to graduate, and honestly counting down the days until graduation. Senior year was almost over, and I couldn't wait to walk across that stage, get my diploma, and FINALLY get to start my real life. However, now that it's a year later I honestly barely remember all those little moments and it feels like literally a world ago when I was in my high school and making my Senior Board full of pictures of my childhood. And part of me wishes that I hadn't wished all that time away.

So, to my high school seniors out there — I encourage you to cherish all the memories you are making. I encourage you to spend time with your parents and savor the meals you have with them and enjoy the conversations where your mom asks all the mom questions about your day, and your dad tells a story from his childhood that you've heard a million times before. I encourage you to appreciate the friends you have, and whether or not you plan to stay friends with them after graduation, be grateful for the time with them in this season and the role that they played in your life.

I ask you to look around your high school, stop and stare at the walls that you've probably been praying to get out of for a few months now and appreciate the memories and times you've had in those buildings. Whether or not high school was a great time for you or a bad time, it was a time of growth and the place where you matured and made mistakes and succeeded.

Seniors, enjoy these last few months because before you know it you'll blink and it will be a year later and you'll be miss those days that you complained about, those teachers you rolled your eyes at, and those friends that you shared that time with.

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