• Brittany Do

Work-Life Balance? What About School-Life Balance?

Updated: Mar 8

No matter where you look in college, you will always find an opportunity or two — or even 10. It seems like they appear out of thin air; it doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. They will consistently show up without notice. If you’re anything like me, you find it incredibly tempting to say yes to every opportunity that you chance upon. I mean, why not? Isn’t every experience, regardless of whether it’s phenomenal or horrendous, “good experience”? Well, yes… and no. You see, college makes you cross paths with countless enticing events, extracurricular activities, etc. to say yes to, which isn’t a bad in and of itself. But what about having free time to spend with family or friends, to read a book or watch a movie, or to simply live your life as a human instead of a productivity robot?

We are all well aware of the work-life balance debacle — a juggling act that new professionals struggle to manage. The consulting industry in particular is notorious for long hours, though there are ways to mitigate the stress and pressure from. But what about in the academic world? It’s just as important for students to handle the school-life balance, especially virtually. With a full load of classes, you’re bound to spend close to 20 hours on Zoom, listening and following along in lecture. Then there’s the time you spend completing homework and studying for exams. It’s tempting to schedule back-to-back meetings between classes, group projects, and extracurriculars so you can have more flexibility in the rest of your day, but at some point during the meetings, you need to get up and stretch or grab some food.

Although the ability to attend class at the click of a button makes us feel like we have so much more free time, we need to remember to take care of ourselves and schedule breaks. Yes, certainly take advantage of some opportunities that arise, but don’t overcommit yourself. If you are balancing too much, it’ll be increasingly difficult to give 100 percent of yourself to each one. Instead, pick and choose what you agree to, opting for the ones that excite you the most. Ultimately, when life gets busy, you’ll want to get things done rather than feel like you have to. Intrinsic motivation is much more sustainable than extrinsic. Finding people whose presence you genuinely enjoy is an added bonus; when it’s fun working together to create something impactful, you build off each other’s energy, which can lower Zoom fatigue.

In the end, there are two things to remember: there will always be plenty of opportunities that come up, so don’t inundate yourself preliminarily. And for the opportunities you do agree to, make sure you’re genuinely interested. What you decide to do (or not to do) is up to you. Time is the most valuable resource. Spend it wisely.

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