Life: A Balancing Act

Life: A Balancing Act

By: Abbas Virji
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Student life can get very hectic, which is completely understandable. Ensuring you balance your work and social life with academics is an important part of your time in university, and is a skill that will be indispensable in the future. After all, life is an ongoing balance of family, friends, and taking care of yourself.


So how do you go about balancing work and school? Well, if you have a lot of extracurricular activities that are taking over your schedule, you may have to accept the fact that you have to begin saying ‘No’. Lifehacker provides a useful guide to saying ‘No’, even if you feel that you might be lowering other people’s expectation of you. This may take a lot of courage, but you have to remember that this is something you are doing for your future success. After all, a poor mark on an assignment will feel a lot worse knowing you could have changed things if you had not been overwhelmed with extracurricular work. Learning to say ‘No’ is also a skill you may end up using in your future. 


Building on saying ‘No’, another very important part of balance is planning your schedule in advance. WebMD mentions that planning events that happen weekly motivate you to keep that time free, and therefore makes you work harder to use that time. Whether this is family time, socializing time or exercise time is up to you, but having this free time should be a good way to de-stress after a long day. Planning consistent events also ensures that you will not be losing out on things like your social life or exercise while concurrently balancing academic work.


When planning your schedule for the week, try to schedule the harder, timely work earlier rather than later, and preferably before the ‘easier’ work. Finishing hard work first allows you to focus on the details and could also make you feel a lot more productive, which assures that the ‘easier’ work is finished with the same degree of quality.


Earning money to pay your tuition is an important part of moving forward for many students, and this usually involves having a part-time job. If you can accommodate work to fit into your schedule without taking over your life, you should be in a fairly good position (especially if you can find work close to home, reducing a large amount of commute time). Even ‘meaningless’ work may actually be quite useful, as David Lindskoog demonstrates on our blog. Though if you find that work is taking over your schedule, it may be time to reconsider. Changing jobs is not an option, which may make applying for financial aid an attractive alternative. This may sound unrealistic, but think of the situation this way – working to pay your tuition while work is taking over your schedule could be fairly counter-productive. Why? Well, you may have to end up taking a course again, and subsequently pay tuition again. If you feel like this describes you, it may be time to talk to an academic or financial advisor.


It is understandable that you want to be well-rounded, and take on as much as you can to gain experience in a variety of competitive sectors. There is a lot of merit in being involved within a variety of causes and organizations to gain experience and learn new skills, but a reasonable limit may need to be considered. If extracurricular activities are taking over your studies, you may have to rethink your priorities. The key to being well-rounded and maintaining a good balance in life is to ensure you are not overcommitted. Being involved by volunteering is no doubt an important part of your journey, but try to ensure that it is not at the expense of other things like academics (which could significantly affect your future).


If you feel that your life is currently unbalanced with regards to your priorities, hopefully this read was of some use to you. Some people can naturally juggle a great deal of commitments, while others use exercise to deal with the stress of life. Having routines such as yoga may be of use to you if you are not willing to give up your extracurricular activities. Reducing stress can be a significant boost to your overall health, so even if you want to say ‘yes’ to a project when you know you already have enough on your plate, remember that your wellbeing is the biggest priority.

*Lead image: creative-commons licensed photo by marco. Text on boxes added by blog author.

Posted on February 20, 2014