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The College Experience: It’s All About Balance

As summer comes to a close, undergraduate students face a new school year ahead of them. The new semester is an exciting time as students return to their respective dorms, reunite with friends, and attend social events on campus. However, it can be distracting when it comes to keeping up with your academics. Especially last year, as I started my first year at Loyola University Chicago, I sometimes got carried away with all the fun campus events, day trips to the city with my friends, and basketball games. Although the social aspect of my first year of college helped me make wonderful memories and allowed me to meet amazing new friends, I needed to remind myself of the main reason I attended college: to work towards my bachelor’s degree.

Especially in the first few weeks of the semester, getting distracted by the fun events and the freedom of being a college student is very easy. Although putting yourself out there and making memories with friends is imperative, it can cause you to lose sight of your academics and the pursuit of your future goals. Here are a few tips and tricks for undergraduate students to find a balance so they can succeed in their academics and social life.

Make a Schedule

Making a schedule for all assignments, events, and meetings is vital to balancing your academic and social life in college.Whether using your notes app, Google Calendar, or a paper planner, creating a schedule will help you visualize what needs to be prioritized on a daily basis. When it comes to classes, make sure you put the due date for a project or an assignment in a calendar or planner as soon as possible. That way, you can determine how much time you have to work on it in order to feel confident in the final product. When making plans to attend social events, ensure that it does not interfere with a deadline or cause you to fall behind on an assignment. Hold yourself accountable to all the assignments on your schedule and use it as a guide to prioritize your studies.

Set Goals

One way to hold yourself accountable for your assignments and studying is to set goals. Write out a list of tasks that need to be completed or worked on throughout the day. Make sure you prioritize any assignments that have deadlines coming up or that need extra time. If you have any big projects or papers that take an extended period of time and cannot be done within one day, schedule a short period of your time to work on them. That way, you do not have to complete all of its components at the last minute, and you have a significant amount of time to make any necessary edits. Once you complete all the tasks that need to be done for the day, you can reward yourself by spending time with your friends, going out to a campus event, or practicing your self-care routine.

Setting Boundaries and Communicating with Your Friends

In a healthy friendship, there tends to be mutual desire to want what is best for each other; However, these same friends influence you to prioritize other events over your academic and personal goals. For example, even though you might have an important exam tomorrow, your friends might still beg you to go out with them. Although you eventually give in and go with them, you now face a long night of cramming to try and retain all of the information for the exam. Even though our friends can be very convincing, it is sometimes important to set boundaries and let them know that you need to finish your work before you can do other things. Be transparent about your priorities, and encourage them to find a time that works for everyone to hang out. You can also suggest that instead of going out to different events, you all can have a study night which might encourage them to stay on top of their own work.

Caring for Yourself

Although it is crucial to stay on top of your studies, taking care of yourself is also important. Focusing too much on completing your work can sometimes lead to burnout and mental exhaustion. It is essential to ensure that you are balancing between studying, spending time with friends, and caring for yourself. Taking time to relax and reset will allow you to maintain your focus and prevent burnout. Whether that be going for a walk around campus, binge-watching your favorite Netflix series, or trying a new workout, finding a way to ease your mind can help you recharge.

Although the social aspect of the undergraduate experience is foundational for your growth as a student and individual, it is important to remember to keep up with your academic responsibilities. By organizing your assignments, setting goals, prioritizing your work, and practicing self care, you will be able to find a balance between your academic and social life throughout college.


Griffeth, L. L., & Campbell, C. A. (2017, May 1). Time Management: 10 strategies for Better Time Management. University of Georgia Extension.

Keiling, H. (2023, February). 9 Key Time Management Skills and How to Improve Them.

Parsons, L. (2022, November 9). 8 Time Management Tips for Students. Harvard Summer School.

Time Management Tips. Academic Skills Center. (2023, May 15).

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