Balancing the life of a college student

Tips and tricks for managing the transition

The to-do list on Canvas is overflowing, friends want to meet for dinner tonight, rent needs to be paid, and your date cancelled plans for this weekend. Being a college student is by no means easy, you’re thrown into a new world where you often learn the hard way how to navigate life. Working a part-time job, being a full-time student, making time for friends and family, navigating relationships, and learning how to do life on your own can be difficult. While being a college student can be overwhelming, there are some things that can help manage all the aspects life throws your way. 

Although it may sound simple, a planner is any college student’s best friend. It’s hard to keep up with assignment due dates, work schedules, and activities not related to school, but having it written down in a planner is a good reminder on what tasks need to be completed and how much time you can commit to activities. It’s natural to tend to forget some things, but carrying a physical planner or digital planner on your phone helps keep the “tabs” in your brain organized. While some people may love to run to their nearest Target and pick out the cutest planners, highlighters, and stickers, a simple or online planner suits the job too; whatever works best for you.

The next best thing to manage the life of a college student is to set boundaries with yourself and others. It’s easy to say yes to a night out with friends, but set boundaries. Let them know that while you want to go, you have homework to complete, and ask them to respect the boundaries you have set around your academic goals. It may be tempting to scroll through TikTok, but set the phone down, turn it on do not disturb, and complete your weekly assignments. Video games may be a great way to distract yourself from everything that’s going on in life, but set a timer for how much screen time you’re allowed because you have to be up early in the morning for work. While school and work are priorities, so are the relationships you value with family and friends. Set boundaries on how much you will allow school and work to consume your life. For example, after 5:00 p.m., designate that time to wind down for the evening, enjoy dinner with your roommates, or make a phone call to a family member.

Building a supportive network is a great way to ease the responsibilities of school, work, and life. Asking for help can take courage, but when you have a support system, these friends and family can help where needed. If you currently have a lot on your plate to complete, asking friends or family to help you complete some of these tasks, will help make life easier. Simply having someone to talk to and receive advice from can help you destress and better navigate how to handle all your responsibilities. 

While there may not be a secret formula to make the life of a college student easy, taking it one step at a time while implementing some of these strategies is bound to help. Always remember you are not alone. At some point all college students experience this new found difficulty of school, work, life, and relationships.