OPINION: Balancing your life as a college student

Scott Rainey

Week 6 means that we are in the thick of the semester. Last week, everyone I know had papers and projects due, quizzes and tests. It was a rough week for many, but we were able to get through it. We have faced these weeks many times in the past, and we will have to do so again soon. We must learn to balance our lives properly as college students because if we don’t, our schedule will run us into the ground.

It is not easy to maintain a healthy work/school/life balance because there will be times when our schedules get messy, and our due dates for school work will fall on the same day. However, it can be done, and it should be as much of a priority as your schoolwork.

We need to take some time for ourselves. Self-care has become a mainstream idea, but it includes more than just baths and face masks (although those should remain routine if that’s what you like to do).

You can start by scheduling time to unwind and relax. We spend hours a day looking at our phones, so give yourself 15 minutes away from your distractions and relax. The Italians call it “la dolce far niente,” or the “sweetness of doing nothing.” They often incorporate it into their everyday lives, and it’s an idea we all should take on board.

The next important step is to find a way to get into your body. This means doing something with your body. For many of us, our bodies have simply become ways to transport our heads from room to room. Instead of doing that, use it in a way that makes you focus on it.

Running is a way to get into your body. Lifting weights is another way. If you don’t have the time to either run, play a sport or lift, then you can stretch.

We all have time to stretch for 10 minutes. It feels wonderful, you’ll be more flexible and your blood will flow properly throughout your body, helping you focus and relax. Dancing is another incredible way to get into your body. Even if you’re bad at it, just dance! Getting into your body gets you out of your head, and we’re all tired of overthinking everything, aren’t we?

Once a week, or at least once a month, get out of here. Leave town and go experience something. Fall is a great time for this because there are all kinds of cool places and events. Even if you can’t go and spend money on attractions, go spend some time hiking out in nature. Breathe the fresh air and enjoy being in an environment fully separate from where you do your schoolwork.

Finally, take a few pointers from the most hardworking people around. Bill Gates washes the dishes every single night, and he loves it. It is a chore, yes, but if you focus on the smell of the soap and the feeling of the warm water on your hands, it’s wonderful. Doing a task like this will also help you get into a flow state, which is an excellent mental space to find yourself in. Find something like this that you can do every night.

The key here is to incorporate these little things into your busy schedule. Some will be much busier than others, but there will always be a way to plug a few of these ideas into your routine. By doing your work, relaxing, getting into your body, getting into a flow and leaving town every once in a while, your life will be much better, and you’ll be better able to manage the stress of being a college student.

Scott Rainey is a columnist. Contact him at [email protected].