How to balance school, work and your social life

Zahra Mustansir


There’s a reoccurring joke that goes something like this: Good grades, sleep and a social life—you can only have two, without having the other.

As a university student nearing the end of her post-graduate life, I’ve done it all. I’ve had a part-time job while doing full-time work. I’ve had full-time work while studying part-time in the summer. Sometimes, I’ve done just full-time schooling and focused on my extracurricular activities. I didn't always balance all of those three things and it not only affected my academics, work and social life, its also affected my well-being. I learned through trial and error how to balance all of these things.

Girl balancing on log

So here are some helpful tips if you're in the same boat: 

1. Work ahead (don’t procrastinate)

This one is easier said than done. The trouble with procrastination is that sometimes a task is impossible to complete if the impending deadline isn’t looming over your head. So procrastination becomes a necessary step in your journey to completion.

But, procrastination is a habit and can break out of it, even though it seems like you can’t. There’s a list of things you can do such as minimize distractions, ask someone to check up on you and promise yourself a reward.

To do list written on paper

2. It's OK to say no sometimes

There are so many opportunities on campus that you’ll want to do all of them. If you’re a first-year student, pace yourself to join different projects every year. If you’re in upper years, you might have to choose between clubs and accept that you might have to give up some things.

It may seem like a good idea to be involved in as many school events but if it’s too much, it can end up deteriorating your school life: Find a balance. Don’t join any more than 1 to 2 things in a semester if you have a full course load and work. 

girls high-fiving each other

3. Keep an updated schedule (plus time-blocking)

Create an up-to-date schedule that has all the dates of upcoming deadlines. Visualizing the deadlines on a calendar really helps sort out your time.

Time blocking is when you block out times in your calendar for dedicated study hours. It doesn’t have to be for a specific subject or project, just block out time in your week so that way it’s easier to plan for social activities or work. You won't have to worry about figuring out when to start your project or when you're going to make time to study for your test. 

January calendar

4. Ask for help

It may not seem ideal, but sometimes you need to take a breather. If you can’t complete a project because you have too much going on, talk to your professor. Reach out to academic advising and other resources offered by the university. If you’re struggling, it’s okay to ask for help. 

two girls talking

5. Know yourself 

Time management really is an important skill. The rough part about time management is that it's learned through experience. Learning to balance your life means you need to know yourself and your habits. Once you know your habits, you can better manage your time by taking advantage of them.

girl looking at her smart watch

These are just a few of the ways I have learned to balance school, work and my social life.  Hopefully, this helps you find some balance! Feel free to adjust these techniques so they best match your needs. Got any more tips and tricks? Leave them in the comments below. 

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