School has just started and I’m already having a difficult time balancing college and work life. As for my social life, it’s almost non-existent. Help!
Let me first say that I know just how you feel. Those who aren’t in college, or have never attended college, or haven’t been enrolled in college for 20-30 years probably won’t understand your dilemma. They will expect you to attend the family function, even when you tell them you have a test the next day. They will expect you to talk with them for hours on the telephone and forget the homework that’s screaming for you to finish. “Come to dinner,” they’ll say. “What’s two hours away from your current life?”
It’s not that these caring people don’t care. They just don’t know or have forgotten what it’s like to balance school, work, and a halfway decent social life.
And I think you should expect to have one. Probably not at the level you’re used to, (the one you had before you began college), but a social life nonetheless. It’s important that you get out and socialize. It’s important for your brain to take a break. You’ll actually think clearer when you return to your homework, and you’ll be happier if you take time out for yourself.
But that doesn’t mean you take off an entire afternoon and evening following classes because you’re so stressed out, or you feel as if college sucks to high heaven, so you’re going to escape classes for a couple of days. You keep some balance going.
If you work full-time, or even part-time, keeping the balance is a huge struggle. I used to take my homework to work and do assignments and reading during my lunch and break time. I’d use index cards to study for tests in-between helping customers. There came a time when I had to make a choice. For me, it was either work or school, not both. I gave up work.
Realizing that not everyone can give up work, I would suggest taking a look at the hours you put in at your job. How little can you work and still bring in enough money to get through school? What grants and scholarships provided by SLCC would help ease your financial burden? If your current schedule is really taking a hefty bite from your study time, talk to your boss. Perhaps less hours or a change in shifts will help you better apply yourself to school. Whatever you do, remember you are attending school to get the better job, and you can’t do that if you don’t pass your classes because you are spending a bundle of hours at work.
Thinking back to just a few short years ago when I was at SLCC, I realize now I should have done things a bit differently. I spent way too much time studying, not near enough time with family and friends. That’s not to say that I could have been clear across the board the other way. I could have played far too much and studied far too little. So how to achieve that balance?
Forget taking your homework to family functions or when you’re spending quality time with friends. You won’t be able to focus, and the folks around you will think you’re nuts to join them when you’re really not emotionally there in the first place. Do as much homework as you can between classes and at the school. This will keep your focus intact. Find a corner in one of the buildings on campus that people rarely frequent so that you are not disturbed.
Devote “x” amounts of time to your homework before giving yourself a break. It would take me about two hours of study before my brain began to become mush. After the allotted time, take at least a 15-minute break to rejuvenate.
Let your family and friends know when you plan to study. Ask them to help you keep your daily commitment by not calling or coming over to your house during homework time.
Plan at least one getaway a week. By getaway, I mean more than a 15-minute reprieve. Take a two to three hour break and go somewhere away from your laptop and that heavy assignment due at the end of the week. You will think better for it. Work with other classmates on assignments and test studying, where possible. Allow the social and homework time to blend a little. But stay on task.
Remember that college is really only a short portion of your life. Enjoy it. Do your best. In seeming moments (believe it or not) you will be done, looking for that dream job like I am.