3 Tips for Balancing Academics, Work, and Extracurriculars as an Incoming First-Year University Student by Marianna Hsu

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Going into university is such an exciting time in your life. It is understandable why so many people refer to their university years as “the best four years of your life.” As a university student, it can be overwhelming finding a balance between joining clubs, growing friendships, doing well academically, and working a part-time job. As an incoming freshman, it can be especially challenging trying to navigate the transition to university. In this blog post, I will talk about my experiences and tips on how to balance your busy university life as an incoming first-year student. 

1)    Establish good study habits early

Make studying a priority and developing strong study habits early on are vital components of adjusting to university life.

For instance, make a weekly schedule and get organized-- schedule time for family, exercise, study, and other necessary activities. In addition, figure out when and where you are most productive.

Some people perform better in social environments, such as studying with a group of individuals at the library. However, some of you might be like me; I am most productive studying alone.

If you are uncertain, experiment with several work environments and consider your productivity. Do you feel focused? Did you succeed in achieving your goals?

University life can take up a lot of our time; here are the four categories that I consider when I plan what my week will look like:

  • Urgent and important
  • Important but not urgent
  • Urgent but not important
  • Neither urgent nor important

Creating a schedule based on this priority list can help you plan how much time you will spend on tasks daily.

2)    Build a supportive network

As we transition from high school to university life, taking on more challenging responsibilities can be overwhelming, and there is a chance that we may neglect relationships with friends and family.

Building a supportive network that can help you alleviate stress throughout busy weeks when you are trying to balance your school, work, and social life successfully. For example, taking some time to vent to a trusted friend can help remind you that you are not alone.

Your social network serves as your support system, and it is okay if you are not currently able to execute everything successfully. Surrounding yourself with encouraging and supportive individuals will help you get through a rough day and build rapport moving forward.

3)    Take care of your mental health

With juggling many responsibilities simultaneously, you sometimes overlook the most crucial thing, taking care of yourself. Your mental health is as important. Every element of your productivity and well-being, including your studies, employment, and personal relationships, could suffer if you are not at your most cognitively and emotionally balanced version of yourself.

Making time for self-care in your daily schedule will not only leave you feeling rejuvenated but also inspire you to finish the task at hand.

Some routines you might want to incorporate are:

  • Listening to music/podcast
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Going out for a walk/exercise
  • Calling friends and family
  • Reading a book
  • Watching a movie/TV show

University and college can be challenging and stressful, but it can also be an experience you will never forget. There will be times when you may be unable to balance everything, and that is alright.

I hope some of my tips can help you navigate ways to juggle school, extracurriculars, and work while you transition to your first year!