“Choose Two: Good Grades, Social Life, or Enough Sleep”
Wise words spoken to me by a wise Don.
Grades, social life and sleep do seem to be a bit of a balancing act for any university student. It is a concept I am sure I will never quite perfect. I naviely thought I had it all down pat at the start of the term back in September… then midterms struck. Suddenly, I had study notes to make, theories to memorize, and dates to familiarize. On top of that was usual deadlines for essays and major assignments. I no longer “had it all down pat”. I started to slip. I began to focus on good grades. Which was all fine and dandy until I found myself staying up that little bit later and setting my alarm that little bit earlier to allow myself more study time. “I can manage, it’s all good.” …Or, so I thought. But, it wasn’t just the sleep that got sacrificed for schoolwork. My daily runs starting being forced to odd hours of the day, I ate meals on the go and at completely non-traditional times and I forgot about taking time to relax. Mid-October hit and I had good grades covered… enough sleep = managing… I guess that means it was time for social life to go. I definitely struggled. It was hard since often I resorted to eating meals in my room (more work time) and when I took time to relax it was napping, or reading a magazine. My Don’s words had held true. Good grades remained my top priority and generally I flip-flopped between the other two options. I felt as though I never managed all three at one time. Did I survive though? I did. After that first week of November I had a sign of relief and checked off the last item listed in my agenda. However, thinking ahead to the midterms that are sure to follow in this next term I’ve put together a little list of Do’s and Dont’s when juggling academics and social life. Enjoy!
- Use your agenda. Knowing your deadlines is an important first step to meeting them.
- Make a study/homework schedule. Prioritize what needs to get done now and what can wait until next week. Setting daily goals can make the amount seem more manageable.
- Make a relaxing/”free-time” schedule. While it may seem contradictory to schedule in time to relax, relaxing is equally important to studying and completing assignments. Often we find it much easier to brush off watching a favourite T.V. show or a coffee date with a friend to have an extra hour to make a set of flashcards. But, by scheduling these things in it creates a feeling of obligation. Also, if you plan time to relax it gives you something to work towards and you’ll find you get more quality work done when you are actually working.
- Ask for help. If the stress is really mounting and you feel overwhelmed you might be surprised how good it feels just to let it all out. Whether, it’s a friend, roommate, Don, rezPAL, parent, cousin, or even your grandmother! (This is also a great way to check in with your social life.)
- Push yourself academically. Chances are you really won’t be able to read five chapters of your biology textbook, do those three sets of math questions, practice for your French oral interview, prepare for your poli-sci tutorial and make astronomy study notes all in one afternoon. Remember, quality vs. quantity. You shouldn’t feel guilty about this realization either– you’re only human after all!
- Avoid deadlines and due dates. Just because you stop thinking about deadlines, doesn’t mean they’ll go away! Don’t rely on friends and classmates to remind you either. As stressful as they can seem you’d feel even worse if you were to miss a deadline, receive late marks and maybe even end up with a big, fat 0.
- Over socialise. Remember academics and social life are a balancing act. Just as you don’t want to push yourself academically it goes the other way too. Social life is important, but remember that during midterms and exams you’re in an academically stressful time. Sure, go out to parties, the movies or downtown as often as you can manage, but only as long as you can still get good work done during the day and feel good about yourself.
- Freak out. This is just school. These are just assignments. This is just one aspect of your life. At the end of the day as long as you know you’ve done your best and tried as much as you could that’s all you can do. You win some, you lose some.
Until next time…