Finding Balance

by Kyle Leahy Walsh

The topic for this week’s column is “Finding Balance”! How do you find a way to balance school, work and fun? This topic was a little tough for me because I don’t have a job. However, I think I can relate somewhat because, often times, I have to work five and ten times harder to learn something because I have Autism than the ordinary college student does. Finding my balance can be a challenge when I really want to go to the movies, but I have an assignment or a big project due for school.

I talked to some friends who work while they are going to school. They want to go out and have fun too. Sometimes, it’s hard to make good choices and then you find yourself racing against a deadline! It can all be pretty stressful at times. Also, not all college students are single. Some students, who have returned to or started college for the first time, also have spouses and children too. How do you find the time to get it all done without losing it?

You want to do well in your classes, but you’re thinking about having to work late after school. It’s hard to focus at work when you just want to meet your friends for dinner and chill out. You don’t always enjoy yourself when you’re out because you’re thinking about that paper or project that’s due on Monday. You want to make your son’s soccer game or your daughter’s band recital or your spouse’s award ceremony, but you have a group project due, a big test to study for and an extra shift at work to cover.

I looked at several websites for ideas and there were certain topics that were listed in each.

  • Manage your time. Use an app, planner or scheduler to help you stay on task with school, work and home. Update it regularly. Share your schedule with your family. Don’t procrastinate to avoid putting yourself under too much pressure. Learn how to say no when you see you already have a full schedule.
  • Develop good organization skills. Keep a clear space to work in with little distractions. Learn to study effectively. Whenever possible, use an issue at home or work for a class project. Take good notes to reduce study prep time.
  • Set realistic goals. Don’t take on more than it’s possible to handle. It’s better to take longer to finish your degree than to take too many classes at a time and failing or not performing well on your job. Realize your limits.
  • Set your priorities. Look at your syllabus regularly to make sure deadlines don’t creep up on you. Do as much of your work ahead of time as possible so it doesn’t interfere with your job or family time.
  • Establish a support system. Work with your supervisor ahead of time and make them aware that you are going to school help with your scheduling requests. Speak with your professor if you don’t understand a topic, taking advantage of office hours when possible. Take advantage of your school’s tutoring services. Network with a classmate at the start of the semester to take notes for each other in case you have to miss class.
  • Make time for yourself. Eating right and making sure you get enough sleep goes a long way towards avoiding burnout. Take time to breathe! Planning down time as often as you can is really important. It helps you avoid burnout and stress. Spending time alone, or with friends and family will help you to recharge your batteries. Scheduling something fun to do on the weekend will give you something to look forward to.