The balancing act

How to handle being a student amid other responsibilities

Jessica Simms, Managing Editor

For many students, college life consists of more than just academics. It includes participating in  extracurriculars, working a job, spending time with friends (safely of course), talking with family members and taking time for themselves. 

Illustration by Michael Clement

As a student who is working and a member of many different student organizations, I understand that trying to balance many different things can be difficult. Here are some tips that I have been using to help me manage my classes and clubs, while also taking care of myself. 

Schedule it out: If you’re like me, you like to write things down. I own a planner and when I am trying to figure what needs to be done when, I create a to-do list. This way, I can visualize what assignments, readings and projects need to be done each day. 

However, there are people that like to “write things down” on their computer. If you are one of these people, there are many different online calendars that you can use, such as Google Calendar or the calendar program that is directly connected to your Quinnipiac University email. This way, you can visualize your day and be able to see when you will have time in between classes, meetings and activities in which you can get some work done. 

Try to say no when you don’t have the time: Disclaimer — I have a lot of trouble saying “no” to others, but this is definitely a skill that I will continue to work on. It is important to make sure that you are not doing too much in one day. So, if your friend wants to grab lunch at the cafeteria or go for a walk and you just have too much going on already, be honest with them. School comes first and even with upholding so many other responsibilities, it is important to keep that in the back of your mind. 

Additionally, try not to sign up for too much. While it is important to take time for yourself and your social life, do not feel pressured to participate in every social event that pops up on your student organization’s calendar. According to the Balance Careers’ website, find an activity that “makes you feel good and recharge your batteries so that you can face your commitments and responsibilities with renewed energy and a renewed sense of purpose.” 

Take breaks: We all have been there — overworked, overtired and checked out. Don’t be afraid to take a break and clear your mind. 

“You may hear the phrase ‘burnout’ being casually thrown around campus, however don’t be fooled – this is a serious issue for many young college students,” Gloria Kopp wrote for Hey Sigmund. “It’s a state of mental and physical exhaustion that can have a negative (effect) on your grades, your relationships and your mental health.” 

Recognizing that you need to help yourself is not a weakness — it is a strength. There is no benefit from making yourself feel overwhelmed by attending every club meeting or rushing to an event at the end of a busy day. Take some time to give yourself the opportunity to get stronger and ready to conquer the next day.

Ask for help: Do not feel intimidated to ask for help. Whether you are struggling in a class or feeling as if you can’t uphold your duties in a club, reach out to the person that you think can help you. Go to your professor’s office hours if you are not understanding a concept in class, reach out to the Learning Commons for some additional help with a skill or talk to peers that may be able to offer assistance. 

When it comes to extracurriculars, remember you are confiding in peers who are also upholding classes and other responsibilities. Therefore, they will understand if you need to step away for some time to handle class assignments, personal problems or even just so you can have some time to relax. We all need help, and it is always best to recognize that.