February 1, 2021

How to Achieve Balance at University

Your time at university is one of the most exciting chapters of your life, which is why it’s so important that you make the most out of it.

While performing well academically is important, you don’t want to spend every free time studying in your student residence. Ottawa has plenty of pubs, bars, and nightclubs, but you also need not spend every night partying in these places.

The key is to excel in all your classes while at the same time getting to experience all that student life has to offer. Here’s how to find the right balance between your academic goals and social life.


Manage your time wisely.

There are only so many hours in the day, so plan ahead of time and create a to-do list before going to bed. Block out times for key activities including studying, exercising, and seeing other people. 


Develop great study habits.

Whenever possible, avoid cramming for tests at the last minute. You can break down larger tasks like research papers, case studies, and exam prep into smaller tasks. Spread them out into a number of days to make them more manageable and easier to cross off your list.


Learn to prioritize.

During times of peak work—midterms, finals, presentations—you can let go of less important prior commitments. Ask your boss for a reduced number of working hours at your part-time job, or tell your friends you’ll take a raincheck for any plans to get together.       


Ask for help. 

Have a great support system in place. Let people know when you can’t be disturbed, and when they have your full attention. Give them permission to call you out when they see you’re taking on too much responsibility for yourself. 

It’s also important that you don’t overextend yourself. Recognize that your priorities and responsibilities are just as important as other people’s needs. If you’re involved on campus and feeling overwhelmed, ask other people to pitch in on a college club activity; or better yet, delegate that task. Join a study session to make it easier to understand a topic you’re struggling with.


Progress over perfection.

Take a look at the goals you’ve set for yourself this semester. Are they  unrealistically high? Perfectionism can be self-defeating and giving 100% of your efforts at all times can be tiring.

Learn to set standards that are high but still achievable. You should be able to enjoy the process, instead of always focusing on your destination.

And, turn instances of defeat, such as a failed exam or a failed relationship, into opportunities for growth and learning.    


Know when it’s time to quit.

If there’s a lot on your plate and don’t know where to start, it’s time to cut your losses and make some drastic changes. You might need to quit your position in a college organization, or talk to your advisor about dropping one of your classes if you’re really struggling. Quitting isn’t a sign of failure, but rather a sign that you are human. Saying “no” may be an important first step towards achieving balance in your college life.  


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