Balancing Between College, Work, and Personal Life

College student working in coffee shop.

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Creating a work-life balance can be challenging for many people but for college students, a lack of balance can become overwhelming if healthy living and wellness aren’t factored into the overall equation. Balancing coursework, roommates, co-curricular activities, finances, personal relationships, in a totally new and different environment is a tremendous change for students who may be coming from a world where most of their basic needs were taken care of. ​

Key Takeaways

  • Maintaining a good balance in your life during college will help you have a better experience.
  • Stress can have an impact on your health. Regular exercise and meditation can help you make it through stressful weeks and months.
  • Identify a time management strategy that can help you stay on track on a daily and weekly basis.
  • Be sure to include in your schedule enjoyable activities like watching a show or working out.

Creating Balance

Creating a work-life balance is even more important during times of stress. It is a known fact that illnesses occur at a higher rate in college during periods when students are under additional pressure such as when they are in the process of studying for exams or completing the many papers and presentations required by professors.

Manage Your Stress

Managing stress is one of the most important aspects of achieving a good balance during college. Stress can lead to a variety of health issues:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Shallow breathing
  • Stomach distress
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Gassiness

Midterms and finals tend to coincide with the fall and winter flu season, which makes managing test-related stress even more important to manage.

So, as you look at your school calendar, identify the months and weeks you think will be the most stressful. During those months, come up with a stress management plan that includes proven strategies for reducing stress:

  • Meditate for 10 to 15 minutes a day, three to four times a week.
  • Practice yoga a few times a week
  • When possible, get 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Exercise a few times each week.

Find a Time Management Style

Another problem that college students often face is getting involved in too many activities and not knowing how to assert themselves by learning how to say “ no”. Time management is especially important for college students since college life can suck up every available minute if you let it.

Carving out time for social activities and spending time with friends is extremely important but feeling the pressure that you should participate in every social event on campus plus becoming a part of the one or more of the many sports, clubs, and volunteer activities offered, can leave you feeling drained and zapped of vital energy.

The key is to find the types of activities that make you feel good and helps you to recharge your batteries so that you can face your commitments and responsibilities with renewed energy and a renewed sense of purpose.

As far as your daily time management of studying and classes, identify a time-management technique that resonates with you will help you feel like you have more control over your day. Some popular time management techniques include:

  • Pomodoro
  • Eisenhower matrix
  • Parkinson's Law
  • Time blocking
  • Getting things done (GTD)

Reward Yourself

Amid the demands of school and work, remember to reward yourself with some simple and inexpensive things that can boost your mood and energy:

  • Reading a good book
  • Watching a good movie or show,
  • Taking a walk or a run
  • Going to the gym
  • Having a good conversation with a friend
  • Taking a hot bubble bath

Finding ways to escape from the daily grind will help you function more productively once when you return to the work you will undoubtedly have. Even though finding this balance can be challenging, the positive effect it will have on your overall health and wellness will be more than worth the effort.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can a college student keep a balanced life?

Managing stress and becoming a good time manager are two ways that you can achieve some balance in you life. In particularly busy seasons, make sure you reward yourself with downtime to help replenish your mental and physical energy.

How do you balance school work and social life in college?

One of the things that can be helpful to balance school work and your social life is to use a time management system to give yourself blocks of hours for studying and friends.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Psychological Association. "Stress Effects on the Body."

  2. Cleveland Clinic. "What Happens When Your Immune System Gets Stressed Out?"

  3. Purdue University Global. "Time Management Tips for Busy College Students."

  4. University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences. "9 Proven Time Management Techniques and Tools."

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