How to Balance between School and Personal Life
Enrolling in school for the first time, or returning to classes following an extended absence, is both exciting and anxiety-provoking. Many non-traditional older students find they must balance schoolwork with existing occupational and personal responsibilities. It is equally crucial for younger students to learn how they can best organize and structure time, enhancing their prospects of academic success while balancing personal interests and goals as well.
The belief that a college degree can lead to achieving one’s career goals and increase potential income has been consistently supported by data demonstrating college graduates earn more over their lifetime than high school graduates. Students returning to school to finish a degree, pursue an advanced degree, or facilitate a career change, may underestimate the amount of support they will require to be successful. Older adults who have been working full-time or at home caring for young children benefit significantly when they have the support from family and colleagues in returning to school.
Establishing a healthy balance between school and personal activities often protects students from becoming overwhelmed and finding it difficult to meet all of their responsibilities. Professors will typically provide a syllabus for the course at the first meeting of the semester, or in some cases through an online format such as Blackboard. Following receipt of a syllabus, students will subsequently be able to make note of when large papers, presentations, or examinations will occur, and begin to plan how they will use time-management skills to approach large assignments.
After the first class meeting, students should also have a better idea of how many hours outside of class they will spend on reading and assignments. If this is not clear, individuals should feel comfortable asking their instructors. Students who know and understand their study habits and style can then construct a homework schedule for each class depending on whether they are more effective with completing assignments in smaller time increments or larger.
Individuals should expect that they may need to re-prioritize responsibilities and activities. The time spent in undergraduate or graduate programs is lengthy, but it is important for students to focus on their long-term goals and finishing, perhaps making a few sacrifices during the two to four years needed to complete a degree. Personal interests should not be forfeited entirely, however, as this will likely only lead to burn-out. It remains essential to find a few hours during the week to engage in favored activities such as exercise, reading, meeting friends for lunch, or watching movies. Creating a time schedule and adhering to it is an effective way to find a healthy balance.
About the Author
Dixie Somers is a popular blogger who enjoys writing and reading classic pieces of literature. She is currently promoting master of nursing online or the University of San Francisco.