Hunting Balance Between Academic Study and Social Life

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One of the most challenging aspects of the university or college experience is hunting the right balance between your studies and social life. Properly managing your time allows you to get the most out of studying in the United States, focusing on academics when necessary, while also providing breaks to refresh and recharge with new friends. Learning to balance work and play is also a valuable skill that you will need long after you earn your degree. Here are some helpful tips for a successful year:

Prioritize
It’s so important to prioritize in college! A lot of times students get wrapped up in creating a social life and enjoying themselves that they forget that school should always come first. This is college and the main reason they are here is to get their degree. Remind your student to always make time for their classes and homework and not let their social life conflict with that.

Schedule Sleep
It is no secret that many students are sleep-deprived. Don’t let this be you or you will suffer both academically and socially. If you want to excel at both, get as much sleep per night as you can. You will be able to juggle your busy schedule and make wiser decisions when you’ve had adequate rest.

It’s Okay to Say No
Saying “no” can be a challenge, but it is even tougher when you are an international student trying to settle in to your new university. It is good to make time in your schedule to socialize or attend events with new friends, but you shouldn’t feel guilty declining an invitation to go out if you just need a break or some extra study time. 

Plan Social Time
Schedule social time in balance with study time. Let people know when you will be available to go out and have fun, and then allow yourself to leave coursework behind and out of your mind when socializing. If there is a party or activity going on during your allotted study time, try not to make exceptions. There will be other times when it won’t conflict with your schedule. You could also plan social time during the evenings on the weekends, when you know you won’t have tests or class.

Be Proactive
I can personally say that being proactive has really helped me keep balance between my school and social life. Whenever your student is assigned homework, encourage them to get started on it right then! This will help your student get the work done early and allow them to do what they want to afterwards. Also, this helps the student achieve a better score on the assignment because the material will be fresh in their mind. This will eliminate stress from your student because they won’t feel pressured or rushed by time constraints.

Set Alarms
Using alarms on your phone or other devices can help you stay on track when you have a tight schedule. It’s easy to lose track of time when sitting around chatting with friends. An alarm can alert you when it is time to take a break from socializing and go study or run an errand. Good friends will understand and shouldn’t be offended.

Organize
Organization also helps in balancing social life and school. When a student has an organized list of all the tasks they have to do for their classes and all their assignment due dates, they’ll be more likely to fulfill these tasks and less likely to let the social events derail them. In contrast, if the student did not keep an organized record of all their tasks for class they could easily forget about them and go hang out with their friends instead. Encourage your student to stay organized by getting a weekly planner so that they’ll be able to write down everything they need to accomplish for class. Planners are available for free while supplies last at the Arkansas Union Info Desk.

The methods you learn to balance your social time with your study time will help you for the rest of your life. Hard work has its place, but interactions with friends are important for emotional and mental health. Consider the time you devote now to learning this balancing act as some of the best time spent for future happiness.