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Balancing Between College, Work and Personal Life

This post was originally published by The Balance Careers, and was written by Penny Loretto.

Person working at a desk, smiling while writing
Credit: Career Builder

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, etc., 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. ​

Creating Balance

Creating a work-life balance is even more important during times of stress. It is a known fact that a high incidence of illnesses occur 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.

Dr. Michele Vancour, Associate Professor of Public Health, Southern Connecticut State University, wrote an interesting article entitled "Tips for a More Balanced College Life". The article discusses many ways students can make their lives more balanced while also meeting the daily demands they face while attending college.

Reducing Stress

In her article How to Reduce Stress While in College, Kelci Lynn, discusses ways college students can reduce stress. Getting plenty of rest, exercise, social time, quiet time, and making time for fun are all ways she suggests for students to balance the many demands of college life. In her article, Kelci offers ten tips for handling stress and learning ways to relax when life becomes too stressful.

Specifically, college calls for a significant transition, where “students experience many firsts, including new lifestyle, friends, roommates, exposure to new cultures and alternate ways of thinking,” according to Hilary Silver, M.S.W., a licensed clinical social worker and mental health expert for Campus Calm.

“If students do not feel adequate or prepared to cope with the new environment of a college campus, they could easily become susceptible to depression and anxiety,” said Harrison Davis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Counseling and Coordinator of the Community Counseling master’s program at North Georgia College & State University which is included in the article "Depression and Anxiety Among College Students," by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S..

Time Management

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.

Tips for Creating Work-Life Balance

Some simple and inexpensive ways college students can renew their energy might include: reading a good book, watching a funny movie or TV show, taking a walk or a run, going to the gym, having a heart to heart talk with a friend, or even the simple act of taking a nice 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 to wait. 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.

One of the best resources on health and wellness tips for college students is on "101 Health & Wellness Tips for College Students". This resource has excellent information and tips for making your time in college more enjoyable and more balanced.

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