Tips for balancing academics and social life

Ozie Ikuenobe

College students, especially freshmen, often have a hard time balancing social life and activities with academics. Students and advisors explained different ways to fend off problems related to trying to balance the two.

“The ones who are most successful are the ones who balance [social life with school] and plan,” said Cathy Zingrone, director of undergraduate advising and curriculum services for the College of Communication and Information. “They are the ones who can say ‘no’ to certain things, start out slower and build. Unsuccessful ones are the ones who take on too much too soon.”

While some students have trouble staying focused on academics, junior Spanish major Todd Alba Jr. said that he schedules time for everything from homework to sleeping to free time.

“I create a master schedule for every half hour for every week,” said Alba. “I make sure it’s flexible so if something happens it doesn’t throw everything off.”

Amy Wilkens, academic advisor for the school of Journalism and Mass Communication, said freshmen shouldn’t get involved with too many things to where it interferes with schoolwork.

“Time management is key,” she said. “Being organized is crucial to being successful with doing numerous activities and being able to cut back and gauge when work is too much.”

Junior public communications major Anthony Imes said he doesn’t think he’s successful at balancing school with his social life.

“I have a short attention span, and I’m not used to it,” said Imes. “I don’t think I’m still used to college, actually having work and study.”

Wilkens said it is very important for students to branch outside of academics while they’re in college.

“We encourage students to get involved with student media and extracurricular activities to gain experience and network with professionals,” Wilkens said.

Alba said he thinks extracurricular activities are important because they can give certain students an edge.

“It gives you that experience you can take outside of college,” he said. “It shows you were active outside of your academic life.”

Advisors said keeping a planner, organizing time, seeking outside help and support, talking to professors and looking toward the future to graduation are ways to be successful in college.

Rob Cooper, a junior conservation major, said ultimately, a student has to be his or her own motivation to balance school with social life.

“You’ve got to separate time for everything,” he said. “Make sure you’re prioritizing your time between the things you want to do and the things you need to do.”