COLUMN: The importance of finding a work-life balance

Allison Little, Columnist

From the moment you arrive on campus as a freshman (and oftentimes even before) people are telling you to get involved with university organizations. They’ll tell you to join RSOs, Hall Council, Student Government, the D.E.N, get an on-campus job, volunteer, go to all of your classes, and prioritize school work and campus involvement. They’re not totally wrong, but they’re not right either.

Getting involved on campus can be fun, having a job is a necessity, and going to classes is a good idea if you want to pass, but none of this is priority number one. You are your priority number one. As such, it’s essential to learn how to balance your work and life.

College is a great place to learn a work-life balance and learn how to manage your time effectively before entering the “real world”. No one wants to get to their first “real” job in their chosen field and burn out in a month because they don’t know how to balance their schedule.

It’s best to learn how to find balance before you graduate. Here are some tips from my own experience on how to find balance and maintain involvement and academic achievement.

First, work hard, but only during set hours. These hours can be whatever times work best for you, but I’ve found it really helpful for me to set time limits on my studying and school work.

I work on school work from eleven a.m. until about six p.m. including classes. This frees up my evening for community involvement or self-care.

Second, weekends aren’t for work. Sadly, we can’t always stick to this rule in college, but I find that taking at least one entire day off from school is refreshing and allows me to be more productive during the week.

Taking weekends off is an important boundary to set, not only for college but for later experience in your chosen profession.

Third, self-care is caring for others. If you’re anything like me, you love helping other people, friends, family, fellow students, or strangers, and if you’re anything like me you can burn yourself out caring for others.

This is why self-care is so important. Taking time for yourself means that you’re more able to give your all to succeed out in the world. You can’t pour from an empty cup. Whether you meditate, play chill video games, watch your favorite shows, or read a book, It’s good to take time for you.

Lastly, balance self-care and community involvement. It’s important for us, as human beings, to have a community to be involved in. Whether you join a club, your residence hall council, or join us at the D.E.N, it’s important to have a group of people that share your passions or goals.

It’s also important to take time away from other people to focus on yourself. This means that sometimes you have to set boundaries, not just on school and work, but also on community involvement. Don’t take on too much at once, and remember it’s okay to say no to some opportunities.

As a last-semester senior, I’ll tell you I learned these lessons the hard way, I burnt myself out time and time again, so I wanted to give you this advice for free. I hope this helps you start to think about how best to balance your schedule, and I hope it saves you from living the sameexhausting mistakes I did.

I wish you all the best and I hope you learn to take care of yourself, find balance, and kick ass.

Allison Little is a senior English major. She can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.